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Paul Candon, CEO of Homevalue/United Hardware spoke to the Sunday Independent regarding the future of the construction sector for the 2nd half of this year. Interesting read.

Sales of barbecues are up more than 200pc but the country’s builders are in a wary mood, according to the boss of one of Ireland’s biggest hardware suppliers.

United Hardware Limited (UHL), the company behind the Homevalue retail brand, enjoyed a big boost in consumer summer favourites such as light DIY and gardening products in June.

But UHL’s new chief executive told the Sunday Independent he is concerned the construction sector is slowing and of the impact, this will have on the overall economy.

“I’d be very nervous about the second half of the year and what’s going to happen,” said Paul Candon, CEO of UHL, which supplies 150 Homevalue stores nationwide with combined sales in excess of €450m.

“Obviously, the SME sector needs support, but I do see that DIY is probably the one sector of retail that has actually done well during Covid.”

Candon said construction, which accounts for 70pc of Homevalue business, also benefited from pent-up demand in June but this has not been sustained. “It has definitely slowed down and hasn’t come back to the same level. It tells me they will build out what they were building but there may not be the same level of commitments going forward,” he said.

That nervousness contrasts with a 243pc rise in barbecues in June compared to last year. Garden furniture sales grew by 91pc and paint was up more than 60pc as pent-up demand among homeowners drove sales during the month.

“Horticultural products grew by over 100pc, with railway sleepers becoming a commodity product,” said Candon. The sale of heavy building materials used by housebuilders and other construction companies was up more than 70pc in Homevalue stores that supply the construction sector but this was now slowing, he said.


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