Dutch May retail sales surge as lockdown fuels home improvement run

AMSTERDAM, June 30 (Reuters) – Retail sales in the Netherlands increased at the fastest rate in 14 years in May, as a partial lockdown continued to fuel a run on home improvement and interior design.

Turnover in Dutch stores was up 8.2% from the year before, the national statistics office said on Tuesday, offering a bright spot in what looks set to become the worst quarter on record for the Dutch economy.

Though stores stayed open with social distancing rules, cafes, restaurants and other public places in the Netherlands were shut from mid-March until June to contain the coronavirus, while people were urged to work from home as much as possible.

Confined to their homes, many seemed to find time for improvements, sending sales at do-it-yourself stores up 29% in May, after an already record-breaking 26% increase in April. Food stores and sellers of consumer electronics also reported double-digit sales

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Mixed Outlook for Retail Building Products Amid Coronavirus

The Building Products – Retail industry comprises U.S. home improvement retailers, manufactures of industrial and construction materials and distributors of wallboard and ceilings systems. Some of the industry participants also offer products and services for home decoration, repair and remodeling, and in-home delivery and installation services.

The industry players provide a wide array of products, ranging from cement or concrete foundation materials to roofing boards and shingles. The companies also sell lumber, insulation materials, drywall, plumbing fixtures, hard-surface flooring, lawn and garden, and decor products. Some players also deal in threaded fastener products, and manufactured and natural stone tiles. The industry players cater to professional homebuilders, sub-contractors, remodelers and consumers.

Let’s take a look at the industry’s three major themes:

  • The industry’s prospects remain closely tied to U.S. housing market conditions, and repair and remodeling (R&R) activity. The bleak near-term prospects of the housing market amid coronavirus-induced high unemployment and
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