MDM/Baird Survey: Distributor Sales Beating Expectations

Challenges remain, but confidence is building in latest distributor benchmarking survey.

While the economy continues to slog its way out of the recession, confidence in recovery appears to be building, according to the latest results of the Robert W. Baird & Co./MDM Distribution Benchmarking Survey.

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Expectations for reducing inventories fell to the lowest level in more than a year. And while levels are still well below the highs seen in 2008, 47 percent of respondents indicated they had increased their inventory levels in the first quarter – well above the expected 39 percent from the fourth-quarter 2010 survey.

Average revenue growth also surpassed expectations expressed in the fourth-quarter survey. Then respondents forecast first-quarter growth of 7.3 percent. The average growth experienced in the first quarter? 8.7 percent.

Certainly, challenges remain. Freight costs are rising, and distributors and manufacturers alike must find a way to offset those increases. Price increases are being seen across the board, and consolidation is beginning to pick up steam again, with large national companies looking for new strategic targets.

But confidence in recovery is key to succeeding in recovery, and the survey results seem to say we're on the right path. Read the full survey results by sector in the latest issue of MDM Premium.

Watch a summary of the findings in the video below:

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