Steady Growth—and a Likely Revolution—Awaits America’s Biggest Building Material Dealers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2015) — The nation’s largest pro-oriented construction supply firms saw sales rise 10.3% in 2014 to reach $38.7 billion, their best showing since 2006, while expanding the number of facilities by 5% and growing payrolls by 7.5%, according to the latest ProSales 100 survey released today at www.prosalesmagazine.com.
The ProSales 100, produced by Hanley Wood’s ProSales magazine, is America’s premier report covering those construction supply companies that garner at least 35% of their revenues from professional builders. Large operations that cater primarily to retail customers, such as The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards, are excluded, thus making it possible to examine more accurately the pro-oriented side of the lumber and building material (LBM) industry.
As of December 31, 2014, dealers ranked in the ProSales 100 employed 80,230 workers at 3,684 facilities from South Florida to northern Alaska. They figure in a significant share of the products that contractors use to build and repair the nation’s homes, apartments, and commercial buildings.
The top six companies in the business in 2013 kept their places in 2014, but changes are expected in the future. ABC Supply of Beloit, Wis., topped the list with $5.26 billion in sales, all of it to professional contractors, while Denver-based ProBuild was second at $4.88 billion, of which $4.03 billion was to professional contractors. (The rankings are based on sales to pros, not overall sales.) Next came Beacon Roofing Supply (#3), Herndon, Virginia; Allied Building Products (#4), East Rutherford, New Jersey; and 84 Lumber (#5), Eighty Four, Pennsylvania.
The sixth- and seventh-biggest firms bear attention – not just for what they did in 2014, but what they’ve accomplished since then. Builders FirstSource of Dallas (#6) recently announced plans to acquire ProBuild. The resulting company is likely to overtake ABC Supply on next year’s ProSales 100 and lead the list.
Meanwhile, US LBM (#7), a Green Bay, Wisconsin-based portfolio of dealers, saw its sales shoot up 79% last year—better than any other company in the top 15—and jump six places in the rankings. US LBM is certain to grow again this year, in part because it has continued to acquire companies, including Zarsky Lumber (Number 67) of Victoria, Texas.
L&W Supply of Chicago (#8), BMC of Atlanta (#9), and Stock Building Supply of Raleigh (#10), finish out the top 10.
A total of 87 of the 100 companies posted sales increases; five were unchanged; and eight declined.
“You have to read this year’s ProSales 100 report from two perspectives,” said ProSales Editor-in-Chief Craig Webb, who managed the project and wrote the cover story in the magazine’s May issue. “On the surface, the numbers indicate continuity in the rankings and modest growth for most. But look deeper and, knowing what’s happened so far this year, you can see that the lumber and building material distribution industry is undergoing big changes.
“Merger and acquisition activity is hotter than at any time since before the housing crash,” Webb added. “Spending on technology has jumped. And dealers are busy refurbishing their facilities, opening showrooms, and ramping up their manufacturing services. It’s a hot time for LBM.
ProSales 100 companies generally fit into three groups: traditional lumberyards that focus on selling wood and other building products; lumberyards that also have manufacturing operations, typically to build trusses and wall panels or put the final touches on door assemblies; and specialty dealers, which focus on selling a narrow variety of products, such as roofing or insulation. The average ProSales 100 member reported getting 88% of its revenue from pros.
ProSales magazine provides residential construction companies with information, insights and advice on improving sales and service. For more information on the magazine or ProSales 100, visit prosalesmagazine.com and click on the tab near the top marked “ProSales 100 & Companies.”
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