Friday, March 23, 2012

HARDI Distributors Announce 6.2% growth in January

The wholesalers over at HARDI have found themselves located at the corner of Recession and Housing Market Collapse.  These are the folks who sell heating and air conditioning equipment into the residential and commercial markets.  Some of these folks saw the market they serve shrivel to just over half of its former size during the recessionary days of 2008-2009. 

Those who comfortably rode out the storm (and there were a few who did), had strong processes around inventory levels and pricing policy.  Based on the work we have done with David Bauders and his Strategic Pricing Associates, we know a few actually improved their margins during those tough times.

In a time when some distributors are experiencing “growth sputter” we can only hope this sector of the distributor trade continues.

Here is the complete listing from Snips Magazine….

After a largely disappointing 2011, January was a good month for many members of the Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International.

Average sales were up 6.2 percent overall, according to the group’s monthly “Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies” report. Six of the association's seven U.S. regions showed gains — three reaching into double digits. Canadian distributors saw a small drop, but its annual growth rate still improved. U.S.-only distributors saw a 6.3 percent sales increase.

Inventory for all regions were higher than year-ago levels.

Andrew Duguay, HARDI economist, warned members to not get overly excited.

“Distributor sales recovered moderately in January,” he said. “On average, sales improved 6.2 percent from last January, but the actual results were quite varied, with just over one third of distributors showing a negative January comparison to last year.”

HARDI Executive Vice President and COO Talbot Gee said regulatory issues concerning R-22 refrigerant could still slow business for many members.

“We just completed a very optimistic 2012 HVACR market forecast, but I fear uncertainties caused by refrigerant and equipment regulation are stymieing our growth potential,” Gee said. “Any questions on what you can buy, stock, and sell will obviously slow sales and marketing efforts, and make business owners lock down when they usually would be expanding and being aggressive.”

But some industry sectors are doing very well, he added.

“Interestingly, we continue to see extremely strong ductless unit sales despite some of these winter headwinds, and continued movement away from mid-level efficiencies to either 13 SEER (seasonal energy-efficiency rating) or 16 SEER,” Gee said.    

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