COLUMBUS, Ohio - Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) announced that the steady sales growth of 2012 persisted in November with the average U.S. HVACR distributor reporting a 6 percent sales increase for the month. The growth rate was enhanced by the comparison to an unusually weak Nov. 2011. On a rolling 12-month basis, the revenue per employee improved by about half the distributor sales growth rate.

Distributor’s 12-month sales growth rate of 4.5 percent is the highest since July reported HARDI. After investigating the sales profile breakouts, HARDI Economist Andrew Duguay noted that, “There was sales growth in the refrigeration, controls, and HVAC subsectors, with HVAC leading the way.”

Duguay indicated the performance was consistent with, “The residential construction gains in the September to November period when housing starts in the United States were 31.9 percent higher than the same period last year.”

“With two regions reporting year-to-year sales declines, the November sales were helped by the strong performance in the Mid-Atlantic region that benefited from the clean-up efforts following Hurricane Sandy,” said Brian Loftus, market research and benchmarking analyst, HARDI.

Sales in the Northeast region were off slightly at -0.6 percent.

“Even if we exclude the strong performance by the Mid-Atlantic region, the sales growth would have increased a respectable 4.2 percent versus Nov. 2011,” said Loftus.

According to the association, October had one flattish region and November had two. It did, however, report that there is persistent growth of revenue per employee by HARDI members in six of the seven reporting regions in 2012. The strongest gains were from the Central and Southwest with gains of more than 5 percent; and the Southeast where growth exceeds 4 percent. Unitary sales increased 7.2 percent in the month.

Days sales outstanding (DSO) increased again in November, but that is consistent with the normal seasonal increase from the summer lows, said HARDI. DSO remains below 50, the median level of the past four years.