COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, which showed the average sales growth for reporting HVACR distributor members increased 5.4 percent in January 2014. The annualized growth is now at 6.1 percent and back to the 5-6 percent range, where it had been for most of 2013.

January 2013 and 2014 each had 22 billing days, but the January weather this year disrupted operations in many parts of the country.

“The 5.4 percent gain could be considered healthy because of the challenging weather much of the country experienced during January 2014, and it is being compared to a strong 19.4 percent growth in the prior year,” said Brian Loftus, research and benchmarking analyst, HARDI. “National distributor Grainger estimated the extreme cold and snow trimmed their January same-store sales by 3 percent.”

The cold weather is not the only reason for mid-single-digit growth, said HARDI senior economist Andrew Duguay.

“The cold weather is partially to blame for the mild 0.7 percent improvement in January 2014 housing starts compared to January 2013,” Duguay said. “The annual growth rate has been declining since March of 2013 and is expected to continue to ease beyond the winter. Retail sales also appear to be moving into a slower growth pattern.”

The Days Sales Outstanding, a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, increased considerably in January, after a pause in December, and is back above 50 once again.

“The DSO has peaked near 54 days the past two years. Members have told us the increases since the fall are consistent with the normal seasonal pattern,” said Loftus.

Publication date: 3/31/2014

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