HARDI’s monthly TRENDS report shows average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 12.2% in January. The average annualized growth for the 12 months through December 2016 is 9.2%. The association noted this is the strongest annual pace since 2011 when comparing against the end of The Great Recession.

“HARDI distributors started 2017 at a fast clip,” HARDI Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. “The reported gain was helped by one extra billing day and being compared against a soft January 2016.”

HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar added: “Pricing will, and likely already has, started to impact this number in a positive manner. The US Producer Price Index contracted throughout much of 2015 and all of 2016, but rose 1.8% on average during the last three months. Essentially every raw material (agricultural commodities not included) is in a rising price trend.”

The days sales outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is now at 46.2 days. “This is the best report for this time of year for this economic expansion,” Loftus said. “Distributor customers are busy and paying their bills on time.”