HARDI TRENDS Report Indicates Strong Sales in April

Originally published: 06.11.13 by HVACR Business Staff


COLUMBUS, OH- Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced average sales growth for their reporting HVACR distributor members increased 18.9% in the April TRENDS report. 

The strong results were a welcome relief after the 6.9% decline in March 2013. The performance was encouraging because it was not being compared to an unusually weak prior year, but to a fairly normal 8.3% gain in April 2012.  Five of seven reporting regions experienced a sales contraction in March 2013, while six of seven experienced very strong growth in April. 

The recent volatile monthly performance is why analysts prefer the annualized sales growth to assess the market’s temperature. The average participating HARDI distributor has experienced 6.1% sales growth over twelve months through April 2013.

“HVACR distribution continues to benefit from an improving economic environment in 2013,” said Andrew Duguay, Senior Economist, ITR Economics.  “Home values are rising at the fastest pace since 2006, driving a strong recovery trend in new home construction.” 

Duguay noted other positive economic indicators:  “April Retail Sales (excluding automobiles) came in 3.9% above last April.  This is the highest year-over-year growth rate in retail sales in 13 months. This includes a 7.7% year-to-year gain in retail sales at home improvement stores showing that consumers are more readily willing to spend money on their homes which are rising in value.”

“HVAC equipment sales generated the strongest sales gains last month, followed by Controls, and then Refrigeration,” said Brian Loftus, Market Research and Benchmarking analyst, HARDI.  The Days Sales Outstanding, a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, increased slightly during the month to a level consistent with the April 2012 level that was also the 2012 peak.

“The cooling season appears to be off to a strong start,” said Loftus, “but the recent volatility will persist.  May 2012 was unusually strong.”  It is easy to forget how weak the economy was and, therefore, how much growth potential persists.  “The revenue per employee over the past twelve months has improved 3.1%, or about half the overall distributor growth,” noted Loftus.  Clearly, HARDI members are expecting the sales growth to continue.

HARDI members do not receive financial compensation in exchange for their monthly sales data and can discontinue their participation without prior notice or penalty.  Participation is voluntary, and the depth of market coverage varies from region to region.  An independent entity collects and compiles the data that can include products not directly associated with the HVACR industry.

To learn more about the TRENDS report, please visit www.hardinet.org/benchmarking