COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 3.6 percent in October 2015.

The annualized growth through October 2015 is 6.0 percent. This is roughly the midpoint of the annual growth rate range from 5.1 percent to 7.3 percent.

“October had one less billing day than last year,” said Brian Loftus, HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking analyst. “And that is about the only similarity across the seven economic regions. The Southwest and parts of the Southeast experienced severe rain and flooding; the West had double-digit growth on top of a strong prior year while the Central region had flattish sales versus a low-single-digit prior year.”

“Industry trends are shifting in a more negative direction and aligning with deceleration in the overall economy,” said Connor Lokar, senior economist, HARDI. “U.S. Refrigeration and HVAC Equipment New Orders contracted 3.7 percent in the third quarter versus the third quarter of 2014. HARDI members will be experiencing more sluggish months in the near term before macroeconomic and industry level acceleration takes hold next year.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is now at 45.7. “There is no sign of customer stress in the recent DSO trends,” said Loftus. “The DSO is a bit faster than it has been this time of year recently and inventory levels appear to be back to normal after the cooling season sales worked through the bulge from regional standards pre-buy.”

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.