Respondents to ASA’s monthly sales report reported a median sales increase of 18% for April 2022 vs. April 2021.  

Industry Insights, which produces the ASA monthly sales report for ASA distributor members, noted the March 2022 results reflect another month of robust performance compared to the same month a year ago, but when compared to the previous month (March 2022) the median sales growth declined 5%.  

Respondents reported calendar-year-to-date sales growth of 23%, down from 24% last time. For the trailing 12 months ending March 2022, respondents reported strong sales growth of 22%, again down from the March 23.7%.

Given the current high inflationary environment, the comparisons should be viewed with caution, Industry Insights said. Additionally, the current trailing 12-month period contains sales from a period that has experienced significant price inflation, and the comparison 12-month period contains eight months of 2020 that had multiple weeks of closures or partial closures, Industry Insights explained.

Nonetheless, it is encouraging that half the respondents to the monthly sales report survey reported trailing 12-month sales growth between 16.6% and 28%, Industry Insights added.

Inventory jumped 37% for April 2022 vs. April 2021 (March was at a 35% increase). The median three-month average days sales outstanding dropped to 41 days in April, down a day from March.

“It was another strong month in terms of year-over-year sales performance, though these figures still should be viewed through a cautionary lens due to inflation, i.e. inflated sales currently vs. low inflation sales last year at this time,” explained Greg Manns, senior vice president at Industry Insights.

Industrial PVF

Industrial PVF distribution firm respondents to the monthly sales report showed a median sales increase of 30.4% for April 2022 vs. April 2021. On a trailing-12-month basis, industrial PVF respondents reported a median sales increase of 27.8%. Inventory rose 28.3% for April 2022 vs. April 2021, while the three-months-average days sales outstanding decreased to 45.9 for industrial PVF respondents.

Economic indicators

The “real” GDP figure for the first quarter 2022 was revised down slightly from a decline of -1.4% to a decline of -1.5%. Total wholesale sales for March grew 20.1% year-over-year, while inventories grew 19.2% vs. the prior year.  
Housing permits and housing starts decreased in April, but still remain higher than they were in April 21, Industry Insights noted. The unemployment rate for April remained at 3.6% and initial claims for unemployment edged up in April but remained below the 200,000 mark.