COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) recently released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased 2.3 percent in January 2015.

The annualized growth has been between 6 and 7 percent throughout 2014. It begins the New Year struggling to maintain the lower edge of the range with 5.9 percent growth for the past twelve months.

“The construction industry across the U.S. is in a distinct deceleration trend,” said Danielle Marceau, senior economist for HARDI. “This is likely weighing on the pace of rise for company sales in early 2015.”

“January and February are the lowest volume months of the year for HARDI members, and last year had one more billing day than this year,” explained Brian Loftus, HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking analyst. “There was also some unusual inventory growth in this report that cannot be blamed on regulatory factors.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, began its normal seasonal ascent, according to the report. The DSO is now 49, comparable to last year at this time, and up from 46 last month. Annual sales per employee appears to have peaked in several of the economic reporting regions.

HARDI members do not receive financial compensation in exchange for their monthly sales data and can discontinue their participation without prior notice or penalty.  Participation is voluntary, and the depth of market coverage varies from region to region. An independent entity collects and compiles the data that can include products not directly associated with the HVACR industry.