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The January 2022 results of ASA’s monthly sales report reflect another month of robust performance compared to the same month a year ago, though most respondents reported declines in sales when compared to December 2021, noted Industry Insights, ASA’s business intelligence partner that prepares the report each month for ASA member distributors.
For the trailing 12 months ending January 2022, sales remained strong when compared against much of 2020, a year that had multiple weeks, if not months, of closures or partial closures.
Respondents to the monthly sales report survey reported a median sales increase of 20.9% for January 2022 versus January 2021. In comparison to the previous month, however, January 2022 versus December 2021, respondents reported a significant decline in sales of -8.9%.
Half the respondents reported sales growth for the trailing 12 months between 15.5% to 29.6%. Inventory jumped 37% for January 2022 versus January 2021. The median three-months average days sales outstanding remained steady at 40 days for January.
“It was another strong month in terms of year-over-year sales performance, though it is concerning that the January versus December figures were down for most respondents,” Industry Insights Senior Vice President Greg Manns said.
Industrial PVF distribution firm respondents to the monthly sales report showed a median sales increase of 36.8% for January 2022 versus January 2021. On a trailing-twelve-month basis, industrial PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 25.7%. Inventory rose 35.5% for January 2022 versus January 2021, while the three-months-average days sales outstanding rose decently to 51.1 for industrial PVF respondents.
The “Real GDP” figure for the fourth quarter of 2021 was revised up slightly to 7.0% growth. Total wholesale sales for December grew 21.8% year-over-year, while inventories grew 18.5% vs. the prior year. Though housing starts declined in January, housing permits recorded an increase for the fourth consecutive month. The unemployment rate for January edged up to 4.0% and initial claims for unemployment increased slightly in January, but remained below 300,000 for the fourth consecutive month.
What ASA distributor members are saying
Some comments from ASA member distributors that participated in the monthly sales report include the following:
● “Holding steady.”
● “Inventory costs continue to rise and we continue to invest in more of it due to the uncertainty of the supply chain. Fortunately, demand is still strong, but we don’t know how long that will last.”
● “January is historically our toughest month of the year, a challenge which was compounded this year by supply chain problems.”
● “The market remains strong despite Washington doing its best to screw it up. We continue to struggle with vendors being realistic about lead times and when they believe they will get over the hurdle.”
● “Bidding is very busy and I would anticipate a better year than last year. Labor and product availability remain the biggest concerns. I am also concerned inflation and the policies of the current administration both nationally and in our state may significantly reduce our anticipated growth.”
● “We were slowed in January by weather conditions. Supply delivery is much better than in previous months. Inflation is much higher than government figures and it is skewing our sales numbers.