What 2018’s Deals, Openings, and Closures Tell About the State of LBM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019
At least 375 dots mark the LBM deals, openings, and closures map in 2018, Webb Analytics research finds. The mosaic created by those dots portrays a year marked by a big new investor, strong geographic diversity, renewed interest in lumberyards, and plenty of willingness by companies to create greenfield sites.
We say “at least 375” establishments changed hands, opened fresh, or closed because we’ve found over the years just how hard it is to get definitive numbers, particularly of closures. (Indeed, since we first published this story on Jan. 7, we learned of four more locations involved in a deal.) Please write to me at email@example.com if you see any missing spots on the map.
Here are the key numbers and findings:
A total of 73 deals involving 297 establishments were announced in 2018. ABC Supply’s six deals combined with subsidiary L&W Supply’s five purchases makes ABC the biggest dealmaker. SRS Distribution had seven transactions, and then came Construction Supply Group with six deals and Kodiak Building Partners with five.
If you go by number of establishments acquired, American Construction Source dominated. Its acquisitions of Meek’s and Arrow Building Center took it from zero to 67 facilities in less than four months, and that’s after it closed six Meek’s yards. With more than $500 million in revenue, it could rank among the top 15 on the next ProSales 100 list.
Construction Supply Group (CSG) garnered the second-largest number of establishments through deals, snapping up 38 commercially oriented product suppliers.
The combination of ABC Supply and L&W Supply trailed CSG by just one at 37 total (26 for L&W, 11 for ABC). But if you also include ABC’s 13 greenfield openings, that company leads the way in total new yards flying its flags.
SRS also had 13 greenfield openings, trying ABC for No. 1 in that category.
Lumberyards accounted for 43% of the establishments that changed hands, while specialty supplier locations (mainly in roofing) figured in 27% of the deals.
An unusual quartet of states—Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California—were home to one-third of the establishments involved in transactions. This mainly was the result of the Meek’s deal (the company really consists of two divisions: one based in Missouri, the other in California); and a variety of purchases in the Upper Midwest.
As a percentage of population, North Dakota had the most establishments go on the block, with 12. And there were 14 yards that got new owners in Maine.
Missouri topped all reported closures with seven, of which six were Meek’s stores. Illinois came next with four.
Again, these numbers may change. It can take months before a company will recover enough from a purchase to reveal its acquisition, and some closures don’t become known for years. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org of any you’ve heard about, and we’ll keep track of them.