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LEAGUE TABLES SALES/HEAD


As always, AW Lumb is comfortably at the head of this table, and as always, we’re unable to say why. It may perhaps have something to do with the proportion of direct sales to depot sales.


What is more interesting is that the long-term trend here is positive. In the 2016 survey, the Trail Blazer merchants recorded average sales per head of £215.4k. The average slipped a little to £213.4k in 2017, then recovered to £219k in 2018. That was followed by two years of solid growth: to £229.4k in 2019, then to £239k in 2020. Year-on-year, the 2021average is down again at £231.8k, but that doesn’t alter the fact that merchant staff are significantly more productive now than they were five years ago.


The other thought-provoking aspect of this table is that quite a few of the UK’s leading merchant chains are consistently below average in terms of staff productivity. It may be, of course, that they are happy to under-perform on this measure if their people are delivering better results on other key ratios. Nonetheless, those companies which regularly achieve well under £200k per head might usefully ask themselves whether they really need to be employing quite so many people.


PROFIT/HEAD


As the previous table shows, the industry’s managers have been very effective at matching manpower to turnover, and the average sales per head trend has been generally upward. But the underlying pressure on margins means that the profit per head trend is very different. This year’s average profit per head of staff of £7,457 is the lowest in six years; to find a lower figure we have to go back to 2015, when that year’s Trail Blazers recorded an average of £7,148. 2016 saw a big jump to £11,236, but since then it’s been a story of steady decline: £11,078 in 2017, £10,875 in 2018, £10,688 in 2019, and £9,621 in 2020. Those merchants which have managed to buck this trend can award themselves a pat on the back; but those who are achieving less than the industry average probably need to investigate, and be sure that they understand the reasons for this under-performance.


SALES/HEAD: STEADILY IMPROVING 1. AW Lumb


2. Browns


3. James Burrell 4. MKM


5. Wolseley UK 6. Lords


7. Williams


£500.6k £437.8k £308.2k £301.9k £282.5k £280.3k £280.2k


8. UK Plumbing Supplies £273.9k 9. James Hargreaves 10.MGM Timber 11. Joseph Parr 12. Grant & Stone 13.CRS


14.Beggs & Partners 15. EH Smith


16. Builder Depot 17. John Nicholls 18. Elliott Bros 19. Turnbull 20. Lawsons


£269.7k £266.8k £264.8k £262.2k £260.9k £260.7k £260.4k £260.3k £257.8k £239.9k £239.8k £239.0k


21. Grafton Merchanting GB £234.7k 22.Parker Building Supplies £232.3k 23. Kellaway 24.Huws Gray


25. John A Stephens 26.JT Dove 27. Carver


£232.2k £227.9k £227.0k £224.9k £223.2k


28.Myers Building Supplies £220.6k 29.MP Moran 30. Markovitz 31. Jewson


32. JT Atkinson 33.C&W Berry


34. Travis Perkins 35. Beatsons


36. Haldane Shiells 37. Bradford & Sons


38. Howarth Timber Supplies 39.Walter Tipper 40. Alsford Timber 41.RGB


42. Crossling


43. Robert Price & Sons 44. National Timber 45.Covers


46. Sydenhams 47. LBS


BMJ LEAGUE TABLES SPONSORED BY


48. Beesley & Fildes 49. AW Champion 50. Boys & Boden 51. Kent Blaxill 52. Frank Key


53. Nicholls & Clarke 10


£220.3k £218.5k £217.7k £215.3k £213.8k £212.0k £209.5k £208.0k £201.0k £200.0k £202.6k £199.0k £197.0k £196.1k £182.2k £182.0k £181.0k £164.7k £163.5k £159.6k £149.0k £149.0k £145.3k £139.8k £118.5k


TRAILBLAZERS


PROFIT/HEAD: DECLINING STEADILY 1. AW Lumb 2. MKM


3. Lawsons 4. Huws Gray 5. C&W Berry


6. James Hargreaves 7. JT Atkinson 8. MP Moran


9. Walter Tipper 10.MGM Timber 11.J T Dove


12. Sydenhams 13. Joseph Parr 14. Boys & Boden 15. Browns 16.Covers


£33,317 £20,490 £19,488 £18,744 £18,119 £17,117 £16,324 £15,652 £12,954 £11,490 £10,691 £10,066 £9,712 £9,621 £9,543 £8,795


17.Myers Building Supplies £8,719 18.CRS


19. Haldane Shiells 20.RGB 21. LBS


22. Crossling 23. Grant & Stone


24. Robert Price & Sons 25. Turnbull


26. John A Stephens 27. Elliott Bros 28. Carver


29. Kellaway 30. Markovitz


£8,618 £8,045 £7,950 £7,857 £7,811 £7,785 £7,506 £7,466 £7,436 £7,169 £6,972 £6,839 £6,553


31. Grafton Merchanting GB £6,441 32. James Burrell 33. Bradford & Sons 34. John Nicholls 35. Builder Depot 36. Alsford Timber 37. Frank Key


38. AW Champion 39. EH Smith


40.Beggs & Partners 41. Williams


42. National Timber Group 43. Travis Perkins 44. Beesley & Fildes 45. Howarth Timber 46. Beatsons


47. Kent Blaxill 48. Jewson 49. Lords


50.Wolseley UK 51. Nicholls & Clarke


£6,440 £5,247 £4,949 £4,593 £3,902 £3,898 £3,859 £3,693 £3,084 £2,831 £2,656 £2,632 £2,264 £1,296 £1,286 £725 -£6


-£2,542 -£2,767 -£3,026


52. Parker Building Supplies -£6,401 53. UK Plumbing Supplies


-£6,953 A supplement to builders merchants journal April 2021


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