kb-network    News 22 Aug 2016
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Office for National Statistics produces a mixed picture for the UK’s kitchen and bathroom market

The latest economic indicators from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), produces something of a mixed picture for the UK’s kitchen and bathroom markets.

The most recent retail sales reporting period from the ONS covers a four week period from 3 July to 30 July 2016 and therefore includes data for the month following the EU referendum and the widely predicted meltdown of the UK’s economy following the referendum did not happen.

In July 2016, the quantity bought (volume) of retail sales is estimated to have increased by 5.9% compared with July 2015. All sectors showed growth with the main contribution coming from non-food stores. Compared with June 2016, the quantity bought increased by 1.4%; all sectors showed growth with the main contribution again coming from non-food stores. Average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 2.0% in July 2016 compared with July 2015. Compared with June 2016, there was a fall of 0.8%.

However, the news was not so good from the construction sector. The most recent ONS report for this sector covers the second quarter of 2016 plus the calendar month of June 2016, and therefore includes data for a short period after the EU referendum.

Despite some ‘shock-horror’ headlines, there is actually very little anecdotal evidence at present to suggest that the referendum has had an impact on output, but results suggest its decline as continued. In Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2016, output in the construction industry was estimated to have decreased by 0.7% compared with Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016.

Downward pressure on the quarter came from all new work, which decreased by 0.8%, and repair and maintenance (R and M), which decreased by 0.5%. Between Quarter 2 2016 and Quarter 2 2015, output was estimated to have decreased by 1.4%. In June 2016, construction output decreased by 0.9% compared with May 2016.

It is therefore not too surprising that 74 % of housebuilders think the government’s aim of building a million homes during the current parliament is unachievable – according to a survey run by the Build Show, as part of UK Construction Week, and Housebuilder magazine.