U.S. HVAC/R average distributor sales for April 2012 were up 8.3%, according to the Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). HARDI's Monthly Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (TRENDS) Report showed growth in six of seven US regions; with three regions showing double-digit growth.
"Distributors' unitary sales continued their strong start to 2012's season up double-digits from last April, including another month of growing R-22 unit sales," said HARDI Executive Vice President and COO Talbot Gee.
"April marked the fourth consecutive month of an improving annual growth rate," said HARDI economist, Andrew Duguay. "The 3.5% average annual growth reported by members was the highest since November 2011. The 8.3% average improvement in sales over April 2011 was also a promising sign for the industry, suggesting that the modestly improving consumer spending and commercial and residential construction trends are having a positive impact on equipment and parts sales. Notably, this is the first spring season that all three of these sectors have been expanding since 2006."
Days Sales Outstanding, which measures how quickly customers pay their bills, crept up for the eighth time in nine months, increasing to over 53 days. Distributor productivity, reflected by sales per employee, expanded on a March 2012 turnaround to grow another 3.5% in April.
"The gap between the highest and lowest performing regions widened significantly this month helping to explain why it seemed like every distributor we talked to was having a different kind of April," said Gee. "That being said, only one region was down, and our annual growth rate and inventory levels continue to inch up further supporting our bullish outlook for 2012."
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