Plumbing & Heating merchants see double digit year-on-year growth driven mainly by inflation 

Plumbing & Heating merchants see double digit year-on-year growth driven mainly by inflation 

The latest figures from the Plumbing & Heating Merchant Index (PHMI) report show total value sales for January 2023 through specialist plumbing and heating merchants were +13.4% higher than January last year. Price inflation rose +11.6% over the same period, while volumes increased just +1.7%.  

With one more trading day in January 2023, like-for-like sales were +8.0% higher. 

Month-on-month January value sales were +22.3% higher than December 2022. Volume sales were significantly up (+31.9%) while prices were down (-7.2%). With five extra trading days in January, like-for-like sales were -6.8% lower.  

Total value sales over the last three months, November 2022 to January 2023, were +11.7% higher than the same period a year ago. Volume sales were -0.3% down and prices were +12.0% There was no difference in trading days.  

Plumbing & Heating merchants’ value sales in the last 12 months (February 2022 to January 2023) were +8.6% ahead of the previous twelve months a year before (February 2021 to January 2022). Volumes were slightly lower (-1.2%) but prices were up +10.0%. With two less trading days in the latest period, like-for-like sales were +9.5% higher.  

The PHMI index for January was 108.2.  

Mike Rigby, CEO of MRA Research, which produces the report commented: “2023 has started in much the same vein as 2022 for specialist Plumbing and Heating merchants with the PHMI data showing that is largely led by price inflation, as volumes inch forward.  

“The biggest opportunity to drive volumes up this year must come from energy and water saving products. In the short term we are seeing homeowners with savings upgrading their properties to reduce monthly outgoings while energy bills are high, but there is a bigger picture here. Last years’ updates to the Building Regulations – largely seen as an interim stepping stone to the more stringent Future Homes Standard which will come into force in 2025 – are driving the message home that as an industry, we must strive to upgrade and create homes which use less energy, water and resources.  

“Stocking and promoting products which meet higher standards of efficiency and actively upselling these to customers will increase merchant margins, but will also ensure that products fitted in new homes or retrofitted in existing properties are future proof and can really move the needle on sustainability. The time for talk of low carbon homes has passed. It’s now time we all hitched our wagon to deliver a more sustainable, greener, and profitable future for all.” 

Image: PHMI January 2023 Highlights Infographic 

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