The average annual sales growth for the 12 months through April 2020 is 1.3 percent.

“April’s decline reflected the COVID-19 disruptions with sales declines of 40% to 50% in the hot zones of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions,” said HARDI Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus.

“The decline is exaggerated by the comparison to the 22% gain in April 2019 which was the best monthly sales growth since easy comps coming out of The Great Recession.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, remained at 49 days. “49 this month is comparable to the average April performance of 48.5,” added Loftus. “We have been concerned about DSO given the C-19 market disruption and are very pleased to see the March and April reports are consistent with recent performance.”

“The unemployment rate surge to more than 15% was one of several factors that contributed to the 19% sales decline versus the extraordinary sales growth of April 2019,” he noted. “The challenge persists, and the next reported unemployment rate will be higher. We are more interested with looking forward. The monthly sales comparisons will be much better than this in the states where weekly continuing unemployment claims are declining.”