Sales for HARDI distributor members decreased by 0.1% during February, according to its monthly TRENDS report. The average annualized sales growth for the 12 months through February 2020 is 4%.
“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 & 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% 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.”