The April HARDI TRENDS report is out and sales increased 18.9 percent year over year. What other numbers did the report yield and is the growth expected to continue?

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- HARDI announced average sales growth for its reporting HVACR distributor members increased 18.9 percent in the April TRENDS report.

According to the organization, the strong results were a welcome relief after the 6.9 percent decline in March 2013. This month’s numbers were compared to the 8.3percent 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.

Economists at HARDI have been looking more preferably at the annualized sales growth to assess the market’s overall temperature. The average participating HARDI distributor has experienced 6.1 percent 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 also noted other positive economic indicators.

“April Retail Sales (excluding automobiles) came in 3.9 percent above last April,” he explained. “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 more readily willing to spend money on their homes which are rising in value.”

Brian Loftus, Market Research and Benchmarking analyst at HARDI, noted that HVAC equipment sales were generating some of the strongest sales gains, followed by controls, and then refrigeration. He also reported that 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, but the recent volatility will persist,” said Loftus. “It is easy to forget how weak the economy was and, therefore, how much growth potential persists. The revenue per employee over the past 12 months has improved 3.1 percent, or about half the overall distributor growth.”