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
“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
“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
“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.