COLUMBUS, Ohio – Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 8.2 percent in December 2015.

The annualized growth for the 12 months through December 2015 was 5.7 percent. This compares to the 6.1 percent gain in 2014 and was the second consecutive year of slower growth since 7.3 percent was reported for calendar 2013.

“Most of the eastern half of the country was unusually warm in December,” said Brian Loftus, Market Research and Benchmarking analyst, HARDI. “The cooler temperatures in the western region were responsible for the boost to sales at the end of the calendar year.”

Another year of modest growth appears to be on the horizon. “The core economic drivers for HARDI members remain positive, but a softer macroeconomic environment the first half of 2016 year means they will have to work hard to achieve aggressive growth targets,” said Connor Lokar, senior economist, HARDI.

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is 49.9. “DSO is a bit better than this time in 2014 or 2013,” said Loftus. “Customers paying their bills faster reflects confidence in the healthy economy.”

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.