Hardware stores have reported average year-on-year revenue increases of 8.7pc for 2018 with a 9pc increase in sales in the last quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2017.
Members of Hardware Association Ireland, the national representative body for over 370 hardware and DIY retailers, builders merchants, manufacturers and distributors, have described 2018 as a standout year.
Almost seven in 10 (69pc) of members reported an increase in profitability for Q4, up by an average of 16.1pc.
The Hardware Association Ireland Business Index, which provides quarterly updates on the total value of the market, revealed there was particularly strong growth in Munster, where revenues increased by an average of 12pc.
Members in Dublin saw revenues rise by 8pc, with the rest of Leinster and Connaught/Ulster recording increases of 10pc and 5pc, respectively.
The lift in sales is thanks to increased activity in both the commercial and residential building sectors over the past 12 months, as well as continued growth in the renovation and maintenance industries.
Sean Moran, president of Hardware Association Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to see our members going from strength to strength and reaping the rewards of increased activity in the construction industry.”
The Hardware Association Ireland represents members at all levels of the supply chain, from national and international companies, to multi-branch retail chains and smaller independent hardware businesses. The sector generates employment of 19,000, and contributes nearly €377m in tax to the Irish economy each year, according to the association.
Over 150 manufacturers and suppliers from across Ireland are set to exhibit at the 2019 Hardware Show, taking place at Citywest, Dublin on February 17-18.
Said Moran: “The Hardware Show is an excellent opportunity to build and enhance relationships and continue to take our industry forward.”
“New products and innovative ideas are essential to the health of any sector and ours is no different. This year’s show continues to promote and drive innovation in the industry, and we’re proud to be able to showcase the latest developments in new products and services as part of our Innovation Awards,” he added.
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The event will also host the Hardware Association Ireland Innovation Awards.
Entrants are grouped into one of four categories – Best Build Product, Best Garden Product, Best Hardware/DIY Product, and Best Home Product – and will present their products to a Dragons’ Den-style panel of industry experts.
The judging panel includes Hugh Wallace, an award-winning architect and founding partner of Douglas Wallace Consultants and Dennis O’Connor, managing director of HPC Sales Ltd and chairman of Allied Merchants Buying Association.
Competition in the Best Hardware/DIY product will include entries from Dulux Paints Ireland, Henkel Ltd, and global manufacturer and distributor of work and safetywear, Portwest.
The construction industry is expanding rapidly, with commercial building leading the way, and although the pace of gains in house-building slowed slightly from November it is at levels seen before the crash, according to Ulster Bank’s Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
The overall index hit 56.3 in December, up from 55.5 in November, a four-month high.
“Overall, the December survey results round off another strong year for Irish construction firms, with the PMI pointing to ongoing very healthy expansion throughout 2018,” said Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank.
“Moreover, momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look solid, with new orders continuing to rise solidly in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2019.”
The commercial construction activity index hit 58.5 in December, up sharply from 57.5 in November.
Housing activity growth moderated somewhat to a reading of 56 from 58.2.
A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity.
Civil engineering activity, however, bucked the stronger trend seen in commercial and housing construction, with the sector reading coming in at 45.5.
The rising levels of activity were mirrored in stronger employment in the sector, and the survey showed that the number of jobs in the sector rose for the 64th successive month.