Top 20 merchants: coronavirus latest – phased re-opening

Top 20 merchants: coronavirus latest – phased re-opening

The UK has been on lockdown now for over a month yet with government guidelines offering some clarity on how best to open key business in the safest way possible, many merchants are beginning to reopen their doors.

As an indicative guide to the sector’s activity, PBM considers the updated responses from the merchant companies that made up our Top 20 league table earlier this year, and other leading operations.

BMF produces Covid-19 branch operating guildelines

Please note that the details and decisions regarding the current coronavirus situation are constantly changing. As such, we will endeavour to update this information as consistently as we can, but please always refer to the latest information direct from the individual business.

Merchant firms are listed per their order in PBM’s most recent Top 20 league table. Comments can relate to the full operational group, or to the particular merchant brands.

1: Travis Perkins plc

Gradually opening 

‘Since 20th April, the Group has been carefully opening more of its merchant branch network, with branches continuing to operate the service-light, non-contact operating model. This will give greater support to large construction firms and subcontractors as they restart construction sites, and give smaller, local trade customers improved access to products.

Please note: that our Scottish branches continue to follow the guidance of the Scottish Government, and as such will remain closed, but will continue to be able to support essential services, emergency repairs and maintenance from selected branches only.’

Click here to read the full comment. (28/04/2020)

2: Saint-Gobain Building Distribution


Phased re-opening

‘From Monday 27th April we’ll begin a phased reopening of our branches, offering a delivery service and progressively a ‘managed collection’ service over the coming weeks.’

Click here to read the full comment. (24/04/2020)


Phased re-opening

‘From the 27th of April more of our branches will be re-opening. All our open branches will operate under government guidelines for social distancing as well as our own safety precautions we have in place.’

Click here to read the full comment. (27/04/2020)

Gibbs & Dandy:

Phased re-opening

‘From Monday 27th April we have opened all but four branches. The open branches are offering a delivery service and we are working on rolling out a ‘managed collection’ to selected other branches over the next few weeks.’

Click here to read the full comment. (27/04/2020)

3: Grafton – Buildbase, Selco

Gradually reopening

‘Our number one priority since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak has been the health and safety of our customers, colleagues and suppliers, and we continue to monitor Government advice extremely closely.

With that in mind, our branches and delivery services have been closed for the last three weeks, and we believe it remains the responsible approach for that to continue at this time.’

Click here to read the full comment. (14/04/2020)

As detailed in Grafton Group plc’s trading update of 29th April, the business further noted: “From 4 May, many branches will return to more extended operations and will gradually expand their offering over the coming days and weeks. Leyland SDM continues to operate most of its branches in Central London on a collection basis.”

4: Wolseley UK

Partially open

‘Our priority is to operate our branch and distribution network, and support services, in a way that ensures customer and colleague safety first and foremost, whilst continuing to keep the UK operating. As a result we are working to prioritise essential orders.’

Click here to read the full comment. (28/04/2020)

5: MKM

Pre-arranged collections and deliveries only

‘Our branches are currently open 8am – 4pm (Mon – Fri). We are operating pre-arranged collections and deliveries carried out under strict social distancing guidelines only, orders being placed by phone or via email.’

Click here to read the full comment. (28/04/2020)

6: Plumbing & Heating Investments Limited (PHIL) – Plumbase


‘Plumbase remains open to serve our valued customers who are still required to carry out essential repairs and maintenance. However, we ask everyone who visits our branches or receives a delivery from us to work together to ensure all measures are followed to keep everyone safe.’

Click here to read the full comment. (28/04/2020)

7: Huws Gray (+ Ridgeons)

Phased re-opening

‘In order to ensure the safest possible environment addressing social distancing, hygiene and health & safety guidelines, we have decided on a phased reopening of a group of branches to allow us to monitor and review our operational procedures before rolling them out across the branch network.

We will start a limited, phased reopening on 27th April. There will be restrictions in place at all branches to help us provide a safe environment for our employees, customers, and suppliers. This could mean different procedures in place at different branches as noted below.’

Click here to read the full comment. (27/04/2020)

8: National Timber Group (+ Arnold Laver)

Limited delivery service

‘We will be offering a limited delivery service to customers, where possible, if it is both practical and safe to do so.
We will be prioritising those customers that are engaged with important and critical operations that help support the communities where we are based. This means that we will only be delivering materials essential to infrastructure, services and essential repairs, maintenance and security..’

Click here to read the full comment. (30/03/2020)

9: Independent Builders Merchant Group (Parker Building Supplies, Chandlers Building Supplies, Stamco, Fairalls)

Delivery service

‘As of today, we now have more than 30 branches open, all operating to the Governments social distancing guidelines. In all cases they are operating on a telephone contact basis offering a delivery service, whilst others are increasingly able to offer a prearranged call & collect service as well.’

Click here to read the full comment. (27/04/2020)

10: Bradfords

Delivery only 

‘At Bradfords we’ve been working hard to find a way to increase our service provision to include non-account customers. As of Monday 27 April, anyone will be able to make orders via telephone call to your local branch or via our website for a kerbside delivery. ‘

Click here to read the full comment. (27/04/2020)

11: EH Smith

Delivery only

‘We’re currently operating a very limited DELIVERY service from four of our larger branches to assist where we can. Due to the current social distancing policy we have a restricted number of staff working, which will result in longer lead times for deliveries. The branches facilitating essential deliveries include – Cannock, Leicester, Hemel Hempstead & Shirley.’

Click here to read the full comment. (22/04/2020)

12: Haldane Shiells Group

Limited service

‘We now have a limited number of branches open to help support essential public service projects, emergency maintenance, agricultural and the livelihoods of those self-employed trades who rely on us to be able to stay in work, as encouraged by the recent government guidelines and the Secretary of State for Business on the 31st of March and IoM Chief Minister on 21st April.’

Click here to read the full comment. (24/04/2020)

13: Builder Depot

Improved service

‘We have recently expanded on the availability of our products nationwide and are now also able to offer faster lead times on web orders. This is under constant review as we look to continuously improve on our services and offerings even further.

There is now a minimum order value of £20 ex VAT across the website in order to better optimise service for trade customers’

Click here to read the full comment. (20/04/2020)

14: Howarth Timber & Building Supplies

All branches re-opened (restricted services)

‘All of our branches have now re-opened with a restricted service that allows us to once again start supplying materials to you whilst protecting your well-being and that of our team. Our restricted service will take the form of deliveries and pre-arranged collections.’

Click here to read the full comment. (22/04/2020)

15: Lawsons


‘With the current uncertainty around the Coronavirus, we would like to assure you that Lawsons will remain open and continue to operate as normal.’

Click here to read the full comment. (28/04/2020)

16: JT Atkinson

Limited re-opening

‘To enable our branches to follow social distancing guidelines, and protect our staff and customers, the entrance gates will remained closed, and customers can enter only to collect pre-ordered materials at an agreed time.’

Click here to read the full comment. (27/03/2020)

17: Williams & Co


‘We are still able to deliver to almost all our UK mainland customers, although we have temporarily suspended our same-day and weekend services.’

Click here for an updated comment detailing the branch-by-branch measures. (27/04/2020)

18: James Hargreaves


19: Grant & Stone

Open, following government guidelines

‘We have decided that whilst staying within the guidelines from the Government, we are now operating our Building, Plumbing and Electrical Branches with minimal staff following social distancing Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm. ‘

Click here to read the full comment. (21/04/2020)

20: Covers

Closed with plans for phased re-opening 

‘Our depots currently remain closed. However, we continue to offer the supply of building materials for NHS essential requirements, Care Homes and other urgent repair and maintenance requirements to Infrastructure projects.

Over the last few weeks we have been planning our phased re-start, with our staff and customers’ safety being paramount in our plans.’

Click here to read the full comment. (22/04/2020)

Other leading merchants are doing the following:

Lords Builders Merchants –

Call and collect service

‘Lords and George Lines have now introduced a call & collect service. This will support our collect customer, while we continue to maintain the highest safety standards.’

Click here for the full statement (20/04/2020)


Sydenhams –

Limited collection and delivery

‘We will be operating a limited collection & delivery service for trade customers and essential public service contracts from selected branches only. These will be subject to strict allocated collection and delivery times. A decision will be made on the supply of each order. Please note we will not be servicing non-essential, retail or DIY projects.’

Click here for the full statement (20/04/2020)


Elliotts –

Open to account holders – deliveries and collections only

‘To ensure the safety of you and our teams, we will only be arranging building materials for:


Pre-booked collections from your local branch

The insides of our branches remain closed for now, so we will not be taking walk-ins. Please only come to the branch if you have a pre-booked collection.’

Click here for the full statement (3/5/2020)


LBS Builders Merchants –


‘We are open, operating within current government COVID-19 guidelines, but experiencing a high volume of orders through all online sales channels. As a result we have had to extend a 48hr delay notification to all advertised delivery timescales.’

Click here for the full statement (22/04/2020)


Frank Key Group – 

Limited opening 

‘On Thursday 16th April we will be fulfilling orders from our Daybrook branch for building supplies and from Daybrook, Halifax and Leeds for plant & tool hire. Please note, our sites will remain closed and the service provided is delivery only, no collections are available at this time.

After reviewing the operation of the sites opening tomorrow, we are looking to offer a similar service for both building supplies and plant and tool hire at our Somercotes and Sheffield depots on Monday 20th April.’

Click here for the full statement (16/04/2020)



Open, with restrictions

Click here for the full statement (28/04/2020)


County Building Supplies-

Varying measures by branch

See here for more details (28/04/2020)


NYEs Building Supplies

Local deliveries only

See here for more details (26/04/2020)

Once again, we must stress this isn’t a definitive list and subject to changes. Please refer to the individual merchant businesses for more detailed information. 

Source: Info taken from information received and updates about COVID-19 posted on merchant social media feeds and websites.

Related posts