COLUMBUS, Ohio – Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 3.7 percent in January 2016.

The annualized growth for the 12 months through January 2016 was 5.7 percent. This was the third consecutive month that the annual growth rate has been near this pace.

“The weather this January was comparable to the prior year, but we had one less billing day than January 2016,” said HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking analyst Brian Loftus. “Once again, all seven regions reported positive growth for the month, but there was a wide divergence from the slowest to the busiest regions.”

“The weak start to the year is further confirmation of the slower growth we expect during the first half of this year,” said Connor Lokar, senior economist, HARDI. “Retail Sales in January grew just 0.1 percent versus January 2015, the slowest month over-month growth in nearly 3 years, while Housing Starts for the month improved by only 0.8 percent versus the year ago period.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is 47.8. “DSO increased this month but not enough to indicate any change to the economic landscape,” said Loftus. “The increase is consistent with the annual pattern, and the result is better than the previous three years at this time.”

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.