Average North American sales for distributors in November 2011 were down 1.7 percent from year-ago levels, the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International reported.
The figures were the first
such decline since October 2010, according to the association’s monthly
Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies report. The
report noted that November 2010 had a record-setting 24 percent growth rate.
Overall, four of HARDI’s
eight North American regions, which include Canada, showed increases. Sales at
U.S.-based distributors fell 1.7 percent.
“The November sales report is
showing the effects that the approaching expiration of last year’s $1,500 tax
credit had on the HVAC market,” said HARDI economist Andrew Duguay. “The
comfortable same month year-over-year sales growth that was experienced through
much of 2011 diminished in November. At the same time, it can be viewed as
somewhat encouraging that same month sales were down only 1.7 percent on
average even though the real cost to consumers of many HVAC services is much
more this year than last when factoring in tax credits. December should also be
a challenging month for year-over-year comparisons given December 2010 was the
last month of the full tax credit.”
HARDI Executive Vice
President and COO Talbot Gee said overall, the numbers were not bad.
“Keeping up with last year’s
fourth quarter tax credit-infused sales growth was never a realistic
expectation and one we worked in September to dispel,” Gee said. “But our
members’ ability to keep November’s comparison to low single digits is a
testament to how effectively HARDI distributors are adjusting to a repair-based