Average sales for HARDI members increased by 3.7 percent in January, the HVAC market association said in its most recent report.

Among distributor members of the Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International surveyed, the annual growth rate for the last 12 months has been 5.7 percent.

“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 bench marking 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.”

HARDI senior economist Connor Lokar said the figures were not a surprise.

“The weak start to the year is further confirmation of the slower growth we expect during the first half of this year,” Lokar said. “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.”