ITASCA, Ill. — Respondents to ASA’s (American Supply Association) monthly PULSE report reported a steep increase in average sales of 34.4% for April 2021 vs. 2020.
On a year-to-date basis through the end of April, half of the respondents reported sales growth over 18.3%. On a trailing twelve-month basis (TTM), respondents reported average sales growth of 6.2% and a median of 7.3%. Half of the respondents reported TTM changes between 2.8% to 12.3% for sales growth for the 12 months through the end of April 2021 vs. 2020.
Inventory rose 14.9% from the previous year. The median three-months average days sales outstanding remained steady at 39 days for April.
On a trailing 12-month basis, respondents reported average sales increase of 7.3 % in April of 2021 as compared to 3.6% in March 2021 when compared to the 2020 data. The number of respondents showing a decrease in gross margin decreased to 16% in April, a 10% decline from March of 2021.
“Please note that April 2021 results reflect a full month of robust performance compared to April 2020 (a month in which much of the country was shut down depending on the location),” said Industry Insights Vice President Greg Manns. “This is reflected in the strong sales growth figures, reported by respondents in this month's results. Also, the YTD and TTM figures for much of the year will be impacted throughout 2021 as we continue to compare against a year that had multiple weeks if not months of closures or partial closures.”
“We continue to witness an upward trend in our industry as is evident from the monthly Pulse data,” ASA Business Intelligence Analyst Ayesha Salman said. “The U.S. is showing signs of a strong recovery, and nationally we are expected to be back at pre-pandemic by this summer. The one big risk to watch out for is inflation locally and internationally, plus COVID-19 still poses a threat. Our members are already experiencing the positive impact of a good economy on their businesses, and the Pulse switching to a monthly reporting frequency is helping the participating members understand where the industry is going in a timely fashion.”
ASA members doing business in the industrial PVF space reported a growth of 28.1% in April compared to a year ago. Trailing 12-month sales for ASA industrial PVF distributors showed a decline of 5%.
Average inventories rose by 11.3%, while median change in ending inventory grew by 13.8%. The average days sales outstanding for that sector stood at 43.1 days.
Of those responding to the survey, 41.7% of ASA industrial PVF distributors reported an increase in the total number of full-time-equivalent employees compared to a year ago, while 25.5% of industrial PVF distributors reported a lowering of gross margin percentage, and 58.3 % reported an increase as of April 30, compared to the same reporting period a year ago.
Industry outlook: Looking forward over the next 18 months, the ASA Sales forecast continues to be bullish, although some sectors are going to remain weaker because of near-term supply chain disruptions, and significantly higher raw material prices continue to create much uncertainty about the outlook. Generally, most sectors remain in a strong growth trend and as the leisure and hospitality sector experiences improvement in growth over the next six months, that will boost spending.
Housing construction remains strong despite some near-term inflationary and inventory challenges. Builder sentiment was still strong in early May and single-family housing demand continues to surge. Some pockets of multi-family in some regions also improved in the latest data. Accommodative interest rates, trends pushing suburbanization, and the work-from-home trend is still creating strong demand for new homes. That should continue to be positive for all types of inputs into residential home construction for all of 2021.