COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased 14.4 percent in March 2015.

The annualized growth through March 2015 was 5.9 percent. This is the third consecutive month with annual growth less than 6 percent. The average annual growth for the twelve months prior to this recent sub-6-percent period was 6.5 percent.

“The results suggest that the strength of the U.S. consumer, as evidenced in accelerating U.S. Retail Sales growth, is benefitting HARDI Members,” said Danielle Marceau, senior economist for HARDI. “The quickening rate of rise in Retail Sales at Building Material & Supply Stores (up 5.3 percent) is indicating that consumers are spending more on improving their homes and internal trends suggest additional growth is likely through the remainder of 2015.”

“March was a welcome surprise after the subdued results in January and February,” said Brian Loftus, HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking analyst. “The results are particularly impressive when you see the good growth was shared among all seven reporting regions and versus 11.4 percent growth in March of 2014.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, began its normal seasonal ascent, and is now more than 50 days. “It generally increases during the first half of the year. It is now near 51 after being closer to 50 the prior couple years at this time, and 52.5 in March of 2012,” said Loftus.

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.