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THE MONTH Huws Gray hits 30


Anglesey based independent builders merchant Huws Gray, marked its 30th year in business on August 6, having been set up with a single branch by Terry Jones and John Llewelyn Jones.


The company now has over 100 branches and is the country’s sixth largest merchant with sales of over £400m. It acquired the Ridgeons Group in 2018.


Managing director Terry Owen said: “We owe a huge thank you to our people, customers and suppliers for our success. Many of them have been loyal and stayed with us right from the start and there is no way we would be where we are today without their support. 30 years ago we set out with four staff in Gaerwen on Anglesey and a very clear vision which was ‘to put the customer at the heart of everything we do’ and that vision and ethos hasn’t changed now that we employ over 1600 people all over England and Wales.” Chairman John Llewelyn Jones added: “Without a doubt, this year, as for most businesses, has been our most challenging yet. Despite the Covid-19 threat leading to the difficult decision to close for several weeks in March and April, we have been humbled by the fantastic commitment from our branch and head office teams. We are also extremely grateful to all our customers for their continued support during these challenging and uncertain times.”


The Huws Gray Group continues to push forward with ambitious plans for growth, with its most recent acquisition of Welshpool- based AC Roof Trusses completed just before lockdown.


Travis Perkins’ first-half 2020 sales drop 20%


The UK’s largest building materials group reported a turnover of £2.78bn, compared with £3.48bn last year. Like-for-like sales in its general merchanting business across the second quarter of the year were down 42.8 per cent, , Plumbing and Heating sales halved at 48.4% down and retail sales fell 19.8%. Of its four divisions, only Toolstation has shown growth in like-for-like sales in the first half, a clear benefit of the strong DIY sales through the UK lockdown period. For the first half year,


merchanting sales were 25.8% down, Plumbing and Heating 22.8% and Retail 8.2%. Toolstation, however, rose 12.9% and even better in the second quarter - 16.5%. Overall, Group revenue for the first six months of 2020 was £2,780m, down 20% on the same period in 2019 (£3,484m) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown.


That said, the group reports that, since the most recent trading update in mid-June, the Merchanting businesses have continued to recover well with the improvement in RMI markets and infrastructure spending proving to be more robust than the new housebuilding and commercial construction markets. Plumbing & Heating markets are also recovering more gradually as projects are predominantly carried out indoors.


Overall, Wickes achieved strong sales growth in June following the re-opening of its stores to customers in late May, with significant growth in core DIY categories more than offsetting the slower recovery in Kitchen & Bathroom installations.


Nick Roberts, CEO, said: “Since the trading update on 15 June, the business has continued to recover well with good demand from


RMI and infrastructure markets offsetting ongoing challenges in the new build and commercial construction sectors.


“We remain cautious as to the near-term headwinds facing our business and the wider economy, nevertheless the decisive actions we have taken to manage our cost base mean that we are well placed to continue to service our customers, support our colleagues and generate value for our shareholders.”


In June the group closed 165 branches, losing around 2,500 jobs.


BMF focuses on sustainability at Virtual Members Conference for 2020 The Builders Merchants Federation


has revealed further details of its Members Conference.


The half-day virtual event will take place on 17 September 2020, sponsored by Marshalls/ Stonemarket. Up to 300 delegates can be accommodated by the virtual format and delegates must reserve their place in advance. The Conference theme is Sustaining Excellence. One of the key elements of the day is an hour-long session on Building a Sustainable Britain, featuring the Rt. Hon. John Gummer, Lord Deben (pictured), as the headline speaker. Lord Deben has consistently championed an identity between environmental concerns and business sense. He was Secretary of State for the


4


Environment the UK from 1993-97 and now Chairs the Committee on Climate Change


Lord Deben will be joined by Megan Adlen, Head of Sustainability for Travis Perkins. As well as setting sustainability strategy and targets, Adlen leads the company’s responsible sourcing and anti-slavery agendas and manages the Group Environment team. Other elements of the day include the BMF’s AGM, industry and keynote speakers and a choice of training and membership services taster sessions.


The annual Golf tournament, social events and Awards Dinner have been cancelled, but a full 2-day Members’ event at the De Vere Beaumont Estate is planned for September 2021.


The BMF will also announce plans for


the All Industry Conference 2021. BMF CEO, John Newcomb said: “Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible for us to go ahead with a hotel-based Conference at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor as planned, but we will now hold our 2021 Members’ event there.


“We were determined that our 2020 Members Conference and AGM should go ahead and I would encourage as many members as possible to attend. It may be a new format, but it will still deliver huge value.” • To book your place contact June.Upton@bmf.org.uk


www.buildersmerchantsjournal.net August 2020


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