COLUMBUS, Ohio — HARDI reports a 3.6 percent sales growth for Nov. 2013. According to the association, the growth rate appears modest but only one of the seven reporting regions appears to be experiencing a recognizable slowdown. November also had one less billing day than the prior year which experienced 6 percent growth.

“HARDI Distributors continuing to show stable growth,” said Andrew Duguay, HARDI senior economist. "November’s annual growth rate inched up to 6 percent from 5.9 percent in October. It was a challenging comparison for the Mid-Atlantic region because the prior year experienced 20 percent growth after Superstorm Sandy. The Western Region has cooled off significantly in the past two months.”

Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus noted that the Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies report indicates inventory levels are under control.

“Inventory growth has lagged sales growth in virtually every region the past few months except for one," he explained. “The days sales outstanding increase is consistent with the normal seasonal pattern and is not inconsistent with the sales growth.”

According to HARDI, November through February is traditionally a slow period in the branches but what it coined the "invasion of the polar vortex" could possibly alter that pattern this year.

HARDI noted that the bigger concern is the health and progress of this sluggish recovery for the rest of the new year.
Alan Beaulieu and Andrew Duguay of ITR Economics will present an economic outlook to HARDI members during a webinar this Friday, Jan. 17.