Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) released its monthly TRENDS report, showing the average sales performance by HARDI distributors was an increase of 8.4% during July 2020.

The average annual sales growth for the 12 months through July 2020 is 2.75%.

“Sales growth during the prior year was 14.9%, so this month was not an easy comparison,” said HARDI Market Research & Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus. “Nationally the cooling degree days during July 2020 were comparable year-to-year even with 30% or more cooling degree days than normal in three of our regions last July.”

The Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is now at 39 days. “39 days is a record low and compares to a normal 43 to 44 for July,” said Loftus. “We have been focused on the DSO as an indicator of economic distress. What we see so far is caution by customers with anecdotal references to higher share of cash transactions.”

“The economic data reminds me of the recent variation of availability of items at the grocery store,” said Loftus. “Generally, the data is getting better like product availability, but the empty sections are reminders that challenges persist. Much of the economic data can be interpreted as stabilizing, but we are not surprised by random blank shelves. Is an economic report good if it is down from the prior year but better than estimated? Should we focus on the seasonally adjusted estimate or the trends of actual results? The data continues to be confusing or a little unpredictable, like item availability at the grocery store or like the unusually low DSO this month.”