On June 9, Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, which showed that sales by HARDI distributors declined by 4.1% percent during the month of April.
The annual sales growth for the 12 months through April 2023 was 12%, HARDI said.
The sharp annual decline in April followed year-over-year gains of 6% (January), 4% (February) and March (0.7%) to start the year.
“This looks like a soft start to the first month of cooling season, but that is a bit misleading,” said HARDI Macroeconomic & Residential Market Analyst Brian Loftus. “Besides being compared to a very busy prior year, April 2023 had one less billing day than last year. We estimate sales for the month would have increased by nearly 1% with the same number of billing days.”
The Days Sales Outstanding, a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, was 40 days in April, Loftus said. The DSO was 41 days in March.
“The DSO this month is similar to the other post-COVID Aprils, and much faster than pre-COVID pace,” said Loftus. “We have been expecting the DSO to increase towards the pre-COVID levels but that is not happening yet. A combination of difficult prior year comparisons, shrinking annual price increases, and weaker demand have been pulling the annual growth rate back towards more normal pre-COVID rates, and it looks like that will continue. Four of our regions are reporting sales growth in the 8% to 9.5% area, and the pace is clearly slowing for all seven regions. This annual rate will be in single-digit territory this summer.”