Brett Martin Comment: Q2 2023

With more than 60 years’ manufacturing experience in the building materials market, Brett Martin is family owned with a 1,000 strong workforce, operating from multiple sites across the UK.

Known for a consistent partnership approach with merchants, backed by reliable customer service and dependable product quality, Brett Martin is a preferred supplier across a number of sectors. It’s the UK’s largest independent supplier of plumbing and drainage products. Continued investment is driving product innovation and supporting carbon reduction initiatives. These include onsite solar and wind-generated renewable energy, supporting a new generation of low carbon construction products.

There were few surprises in the Q2 overall market trends as construction activity continued to regress from the highs of the elevated 2022 post-Covid period. While not surprising, it was disappointing that the UK economy continues to suffer from high inflation which is draining disposable income and fuelling interest rate rises. This hits both consumer and business confidence with regards to house purchases and commercial investment respectively.

Most commentators agree this set of economic indicators is unlike any other we’ve seen before, as a falling economy has previously always been accompanied by job losses and other recessionary indicators. In 2023, staff shortages are amplifying wage pressures and contributing to supply chain issues, reflecting a unique set of circumstances behind current market trends.

Underground drainage systems are typically installed at the first stage of a build project, so product volumes in the new build sector are dipping in line with the fall in new starts. Rainwater and plumbing systems are used towards the end of the build process and this, together with a larger exposure to the RMI market means that market demand has been slower to reflect the overall trend. However, boosted by our investment in product innovation and service, Brett Martin is outperforming the market.

Sentiment from merchants varies slightly depending on the customer profile of their business. However, with most housebuilders reporting significant downward trends on both new starts and sales it’s inevitable that merchants will see plumbing and drainage sales follow this trend to a lesser or greater degree. As manufacturers, our role is to support merchants with services to boost efficiencies and make the most of the many opportunities that still exist in the market.

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