ASA’s monthly sales report shows November 2021 results that reflect another month of robust performance compared to the same month a year ago.

The year-to-date and trailing 12-month figures remained strong when compared against 2020, a year that had multiple weeks, if not months of closures or partial closures, ASA business intelligence partner Industry Insights, which produces the monthly sales report for ASA members, noted.

Respondents reported a media sales increase of 33.5% for November 2021 vs. 2020. In comparison to the previous month (November 2021 vs. October 2021), respondents reported a modest increase in sales of 3.5%. On a year-to-date basis, through the end of November, half the respondents reported sales growth over 20.5%, Industry Insights reported.

On a trailing 12-month basis, respondents reported median sales growth of 18.9%. Half the respondents reporting trailing 12-month changes between 13.9% to 26.1% for TTM sales growth.

Inventory rose 29% for November 2021 vs. November 2020. The median three-month average says sales outstanding edged up slightly to nearly 41 days for November.

“It was another strong month in terms of year-over-year sales performance,” Industry Insights Senior Vice President Greg Manns said. “While it is largely being driven by a weak 2020, it’s encouraging to continue to see modest growth month to month.”

Industrial PVF

Industrial PVF distribution firm respondents to the monthly sales report showed a median sales increase of 46.5% for November 2021 vs. November 2020. On a trailing-twelve-month basis, industrial PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 19.7%. Inventory rose 33.9% for November 2021 vs. November 2020, while the three-months-average days sales outstanding rose to 49.9 for industrial PVF respondents.
Economic indicators

The “Real GDP” figure for the third quarter of 2021 was revised up again from 2.1% to 2.3% growth. Total wholesale sales for October grew 22.2% year-over-year, while inventories grew 14.4% vs. the prior year. Housing permits and starts both recorded increases in November. The unemployment rate for November fell to 4.2%, and initial claims for unemployment continued to decline, remaining below 400,000 for the sixth 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:

  •  “Inflation, supply chain issues and job market continue to be significant challenges to the business.”
  • ”Supply chain challenges persist with a continued flurry of vendor cost increases, order restrictions and freight requirements that are causing margin compression and inventory shortages.”
  • “Very strong sales and margin performance in the last three months—best in two years!”
  • “We could sell a lot more if the supply chain was smooth.”
  • “We surpassed our 2020 sales totals in November 2021. We are still behind in receiving inventory and the cost is up considerably. We have about 10 employees less than we had in 2020. We are not as optimistic about 2022.”