Expert for Paint

Paul Edworthy

Commercial Lead | Builders Merchant Group


Paul Edworthy

Paul joined Cuprinol Ltd in 1997 prior to its acquisition by ICI paints in 1998 and subsequently AkzoNobel in 2008. Starting as a Retail Merchandiser, he quickly progressed to Regional Sales Manager and then was promoted to National Account Manager prior to moving to the Trade side of the business in 2007, managing Regional Builders Merchants and Travis Perkins, with the past eight years responsible for Brewers Decorator Centres. Paul now holds the position of Commercial Lead – Builders Merchant Group, responsible for contributing sales in excess of £60 million. In 2016, we launched the Dulux Academy to provide decorators, merchants and suppliers accredited training and event facilities. It soon became a ‘BMF Regional Centre of Excellence’.

Dulux Trade

AkzoNobel, is a global company which creates paints and performance coatings for industry and consumers worldwide. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company is active in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 33,000 people. Sales in 2021 were EUR 9.6 billion.

Dulux Trade is the home of painting and decorating excellence, falling under the brand umbrella of AkzoNobel, which includes other leading brands including Cuprinol UK, Polycell UK and Hammerite UK. The range of 4,000 colours and encyclopaedia of trade paint, along with expert help makes Dulux Trade the first choice for decorators and specifiers. More than any other brand, Dulux is widely recognised as a market leader by which others are measured.


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Dulux Comment: Q3 2023

At the end of Q3 the trade paint market stood at 1% growth year-on-year adjusted for working days. Despite fluctuating weather, the woodcare market has grown by 7% year-on-year (based on actualising research best estimates). Against a gloomy economic outlook, growth of these markets provides assurance of the continued value of paint and finishes to wider society.

The trade paint market correlates with movements in the housing market. The successive Bank Rate increases have muted housing market activity, resulting in fewer housing transactions, especially for new build properties. While this has led to reports of less paint being used in the new build sector, recovery has been good for the volume used in the existing housing market. Volume growth is strongest for private dwellings, but there are green shoots of recovery in the existing social housing stock.

Our market has historically benefited from the “improve not move” mindset of homeowners that manifests itself in times of housing market turbulence. This year has been no exception and it’s likely to be an underlying driver of the growth in existing housing volumes.

Given Bank Rate forecasts, do not expect a drop until we are closer to 2025, and we are likely to see this trend continue, offering opportunities for the market to maintain volumes in the near future. Indeed, reports of workloads from professional decorators remain stable for the time being, adding to our expectations that the trade paint market volume will continue slightly ahead of 2022.

Sales to builders merchants are currently running 2% down year-to-date on last year (GfK Builders’ Merchant Paint Report), indicating the potential for greater growth in the channel, as it currently lags the performance of the total market.

As we look towards Q4, and even Q1 of 2024, growth expectations for the trade paint market remain tempered by many of the current market drivers which are set to remain.