COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 4.6 percent in November 2015.

The annualized growth for the 12 months through November 2015 slipped further, to 5.5 percent. This is the third consecutive decline from the recent peak of 7.3 percent achieved for the 12 months through August 2015.

“November had a difficult comparison and this year had an extra billing day to help with the challenge, but warmer weather and heavy rain in many parts of the country interfered with commerce this month,” said Brian Loftus, HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking analyst.

It is not unlikely this modest pace of growth could persist. “HARDI members will definitely be feeling the slowdown well into the first half of 2016 -- before things improve in the second half of the year,” said Connor Lokar, senior economist, HARDI. “2017 is still onward and upward to a solid and better year of macroeconomic growth.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is now at 45.5. “DSO is similar to last year at this time,” said Loftus. “A couple of years with an improving economy is making it easier for customers to comfortably pay their bills faster. A few years ago at this time DSO was in the high 40s.”

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.