ASA’s monthly sales report shows October 2021 results that reflect another month of robust performance compared to the same month a year ago. Year-to-date and trailing-twelve-month figures remained strong when compared against 2020, a year that had multiple weeks, if not months of closures or partial closures.
Respondents to the monthly sales report reported a median sales increase of 17.4% for October 2021 vs. October 2020. In comparison to the previous month (October 2021 vs. September 2021), respondents reported a modest increase in sales of 1.9%.
On a year-to-date basis through the end of October, half the respondents to the monthly sales report logged sales growth over 19.2%. On a trailing-twelve-month basis, respondents reported sales growth of 17.5% (for both the average and the median).
Half the respondents reported TTM changes between 11.6% to 24.3% for TTM sales growth.
Inventory rose 31% for October 2021 vs. October 2020. The median three-months-average days sales outstanding remained at 40 days for October.
“It was another strong month in terms of year-over-year sales performance,” said Greg Manns, senior vice president of ASA business intelligence partner Industry Insights, which prepares the monthly sales report. “While it’s largely being driven by a weak 2020, it’s encouraging to see modest growth month to month (i.e. October vs. September).”
Industrial PVF distribution firm respondents to the monthly sales report showed a median sales increase of 19.9% for October 2021 vs. October 2020. On a trailing-twelve-month basis, industrial PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 16.8%. Inventory rose 35.4% for October 2021 vs. October 2020, while the three-months-average days sales outstanding was at 43.9 for industrial PVF respondents.
The advance “Real GDP” figure for the third quarter of 2021 was revised up from 2.0% to 2.1% growth. Total wholesale sales for September grew 22% year-over-year, while inventories grew 13.1% vs. the prior year.
Supply chain, labor and inflationary pressures continue to present headwinds, slowing housing figures, Industry Insights pointed out. The unemployment rate for October fell to 4.6% and initial claims for unemployment continued to decline, remaining below 400,000 for the fifth consecutive month. Both of these figures reached their lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic.
What ASA distributor members are saying
Some comments from ASA member distributors that participated in the monthly sales report:
“Business continues to be strong. There seems to be continued projects on the horizon as well. Hopefully, this trend continues through the end of 2021 and well into 2022.”
“Business is still strong, although it seems to be easing off.”
“Demand remains strong while supply shortages are rampant. We do not see 2022 providing much relief for our supply issues. Some vendors are improving slightly while others are getting worse. Finding good people continues to be a challenge.”
“Our open orders are shrinking which has us concerned for the start of 2022. Finding reliable workers for the warehouse and driver positions continues to be our biggest challenge.”
“Supply, supply, supply.”
“We had a downturn in October, probably due to supply issues. Customer outlook may be worsening and they are being more protective of assets.”