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Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing the average sales performance by HARDI distributors was a decline of 0.1 percent during February 2020.
The average annual sales growth for the 12 months through February 2020 is 4 percent.
"Generally February has not been indicative of the year ahead because it is a short month and at the end of the season," said HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus. "The sales this month were comparable to February 2019 when five of our seven regions produced low-to-mid teens sales growth. What looked good last year is not as encouraging this year."
The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is near 50 days. "The DSO has an annual cycle so we compare it to the comparable prior year. January 2020 was comparable to January 2019," said Loftus. "December and January were higher than their prior year comparable so we are pleased to see that trend broken, at least before the likely increases in March and April.
"Our economy created 273,000 new jobs in February 2020. That was 113 consecutive months of job growth and the unemployment rate had been near 3.6 percent for almost a year. The last time the unemployment rate was that low was the back half of 1969 or 50 years ago," said Loftus. "That side of the economic cycle is now over. The downside the cycle will be considerably shorter. We are now watching a variety of metrics to see how long this slide will persist."
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.