Figure 1. Overall North American sales forecasted. (Source: NHRAW)
Although the economy seems to be slowing down overall, a major wholesaler group indicates that hvacr sales will dip just a bit. And if the weather plays its part, that dip could be offset.

The “April Trends Report” from the Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration and Aircondition-ing Wholesalers Association (NHRAW) indicates sales volume percentage gain or loss, by region and overall, for the month and year to date.

The report provides both median and average numbers. The median is the middle value in a range of numbers.

In Table 1, sales are broken out by 12 regions, indicated by the states each contains as well as Canada. One region (in the Northwest) shows insufficient data. All other regions are reported.

The NHRAW numbers show that after a very strong March, with an overall median gain of 12.05% (14.61% on average), overall April sales rolled back to 4.43% at median and just 2.32% on average.

Four regions had negative sales for the month reported at median. The Canadian region had zero gain at median and was down 2.19% on average.

The strongest region was in the Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), which grew by 15.5% at median (18.9% average). The weakest region was the North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota), which decreased 10.07% at median (10.19% average).

Overall cumulative sales are up 8% at median (9.18% average). All regions have positive cumulative sales at median (except for Canada which here too is at zero).

Table 1. Regional sales reported by NHRAW region. (Source: NHRAW)

Quarterly Forecast

The NHRAW also issued a wholesale quarterly sales forecast covering the last three quarters of this year and the first quarter of next year. Figure 1 illustrates the forecast, which provides the percent change in sales compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Sales are expected to be solid in the second quarter of 2000, with a forecasted gain of 10% at median over the second quarter of last year. Besides the median value, the chart also displays the upper and lower quartiles, showing the possible range of performance (which in this case stretches from a high of 19% to a low of 1%).

For both the third and fourth quarters, the NHRAW predicts sales gains of 6%, a slight slowing of recent sales activity. The range is a little tighter for the fourth quarter, indicating higher confidence in that projection.

For the first quarter of 2001, a decrease of 1% is forecasted. However, the wider range here shows a lower degree of confidence. In any case, the overall trend is a downward slope for wholesale sales.