COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced average U.S. HVACR distributor sales were up 17.9 percent in May 2012. This is the highest month-over-month growth since November 2010, when the looming $1,500 federal tax credit expiration pulled sales forward. HARDI’s Monthly Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (TRENDS) Report showed growth in all seven U.S. regions; with six regions showing more than 10 percent increases.

“May was a particularly strong month with even the lowest quartile showing year-over-year growth, which is a rare occurrence,” said Andrew Duguay, economist, HARDI. “84 percent of members reported a positive May 2012 versus May 2011, suggesting the recovery among distributors is broadening. Business cycle momentum is clearly positive at this point.”

Days Sales Outstanding (a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills) finally saw a decline after increases in eight of the last nine months. Distributor productivity, reflected by sales per employee, made last month’s impressive 3.5 percent increase look meager by leaping another 26 percent in May.

“There certainly haven’t been many months showing these kinds of growth numbers for quite some time,” said Talbot Gee, executive vice president and COO, HARDI. “Strong sales and an early start to the season have started to deplete inventories so I wouldn’t be surprised to see aggressive restocking of value products and repair components.

“Distributors’ unitary sales continued their strong start to 2012, up 20 percent from last May, including another month of growing R-22 unit sales.”

Publication date: 7/23/2012