HARDI’s monthly TRENDS Report shows average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 3.7% in January. The annualized growth for the 12 months through January 2016 was 5.7%. This was the third consecutive month the annual growth rate has been near this pace, HARDI noted.

 “The weather this January was comparable to the prior year, but we had one less billing day than January 2016,” HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. “Once again, all seven regions reported positive growth for the month, but there was a wide divergence from the slowest to the busiest regions.”

HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar added: “The weak start to the year is further confirmation of the slower growth we expect during the first half of this year. Retail sales in January grew 0.1% vs. January 2015, the slowest month-over-month growth in nearly three years, while housing starts for the month improved by only 0.8% vs. the period a year ago.”

The days sales outstanding, a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is 47.8. “DSO increased this month, but not enough to indicate any change to the economic landscape,” Loftus said. “The increase is consistent with the annual pattern, and the result is better than the previous three years at this time.”