National Association of Electrical Distributors’ most recent Quarterly Sales Change Expectation Survey revealed that sales growth for electrical distributors slowed in the third quarter of 2006. Of distributors surveyed, 80.6% estimated sales growth for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 - a drop from the last four quarters in which 85.5% to 89.9% reported sales increases. Third quarter sales increases of 10% or more were reported by 48% of those surveyed, a decline from the second quarter’s record 59.4%. The number of distributors seeing sales declines grew to 12.8% from 8.8% in the second quarter. Distributors predict the slowdown in growth will continue in the winter months, as 70% forecast sales growth in the fourth quarter now under way. Distributors are split between optimism and pessimism: 26.4% look forward to sales growth above 10%, and 26.4% expect flat or declining sales.
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