2012 Distributor Sales Increase
The annual growth rate of 5.6 percent is the highest since Oct. 2011, signaling further growth is likely in the coming months.
“Now that the American Taxpayer Relief Act has been passed, we expect some of the hesitancy businesses felt will fade as they resume investments in equipment and repairs,” said Andrew Duguay, senior economist, ITR Economics.
Despite the December decline of 1.8 percent, overall fourth-quarter performance made improvements.
“The quarter’s performance was similar to Grainger’s, where average daily U.S. sales were up 4 percent in October and up 6 percent in November before declining 1 percent in December,” said Brian Loftus, market research and benchmarking analyst, HARDI.
HARDI’s Monthly Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (TRENDS) Report tracks seven regions. December closed out a fourth quarter that exhibited distinct performance differences between the regions.
“The strongest revenue-per-employee gains of 2012 were experienced in the West, Southwest, and Central Regions,” said Loftus. While sales per employee increased slightly in the Northeast over the previous 12 months, it remained flat in the Mid-Atlantic despite the rebuilding efforts of the past two months. “The soft sales during the month helped keep the days-sales-outstanding (DSO) below 50 days for the group overall,” said Loftus.
According to the Unitary TRENDS Survey, unit sales increased 6.4 percent versus Dec. 2011. The gains were largely related to growth in ducted sales, while ductless sales were down from last year. R-22 continues to lose total share of the unit sales market compared to R-410a.