COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced average sales growth for its reporting HVACR distributor members increased 18.9 percent in April.

HARDI said the increase was a welcome relief after a decline of 6.9 percent in March.

“The performance was encouraging because it was not being compared to an unusually weak prior year, but to a fairly normal 8.3 percent gain in April 2012,” HARDI said. ”Five of seven reporting regions experienced a sales contraction in March 2013, while six of seven experienced very strong growth in April.”

The average participating HARDI distributor has experienced 6.1 percent sales growth over 12 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 including retail sales.

“April retail sales — excluding automobiles — came in 3.9 percent above last April. This is the highest year-over-year growth rate in retail sales in 13 months. This includes a 7.7 percent year-to-year gain in retail sales at home improvement stores showing that consumers are readily willing to spend money on their homes, which are rising in value.”

Brian Loftus, market research and benchmarking analyst, HARDI, said HVAC equipment sales saw the strongest gains in April, followed by controls and refrigeration.

“The cooling season appears to be off to a strong start, but the recent volatility will persist,” said Loftus. “May 2012 was unusually strong.”

Publication date: 6/17/2013 

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