The Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International is reporting that HVACR distributor sales in North American for December 2010 is in line with the association’s forecast. However, the association says the numbers failed short of most manufacturer and analyst projections going into the year.

HARDI’s Monthly Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (TRENDS) report showed average growth for the month of 17 percent versus December 2009. HARDI reps believe this was driven by the impending expiration of the full $1,500 residential tax credits. The running twelve month sales improved for the fifth consecutive month meeting the top end of HARDI’s 2010 growth projections at just over 10 percent. Four U.S. HARDI regions and Canada finished the year up double digits.

For the second consecutive month, average days sales outstanding continued to decline falling much more in-line with distribution averages. Average distributor sales per employee inched up again after a modest increase last month.

“As expected, the pending reduction of the $1,500 tax credits effective January 1, pulled early 2011 demand into December giving our members a great close to what was generally an underperforming 2010,” said Talbot H. Gee, HARDI executive vice president and COO. “December’s distributor sales mix of cooling equipment was nearly 50 percent 14 SEER and higher which will most certainly not be the case next month or likely any of 2011. The question moving forward isn’t whether but how much high-efficiency sales will drop if we’re unable to fully reinstate the 25c tax credits or grow other efficiency incentives.”