Distributor Pandemic Sales Index Improves for Week of April 13, But Skepticism Abounds

The index showed a considerable one-week improvement, but it's not likely a reflection of similarly improving business conditions.

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Indian River Consulting Group’s (IRCG) distributor Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) showed considerable improvement from a week prior, though the firm is skeptical about any correlation to improving business conditions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest PRI showed a sales decline of 6.9 percent for the week of April 13-17, compared to a plummet of 29.4 percent for the week of 6-10. While that's a significant improvement, IRCG said it is likely not a reflection of significantly improving conditions. The group noted that one of the nine firms in last week's sample shipped a very large project that had a large impact on the overall index, and with that excluded, the remaining firms showed an average decline of 18.9 percent.

"As the governors of some states have indicated that they will begin easing stay-at-home restrictions and allowing additional businesses to reopen it will be interesting to see if the index trends upwards," said Mike Emerson, IRCG partner. "Unfortunately, the majority of the distributors in our sample are large regional companies, so it would be difficult to pinpoint influences from individual states."

Last week's sample size of nine distributors was the same as the week prior. IRCG expects that the sample size will continue to increase weekly. IRCG is looking to increase the sample size and asks any interested distributors to contact IRCG Emerson at memerson@ircg.com.

The PRI was launched in late March to provide the B2B distribution space with a snapshot of how distributor revenues are doing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chart below shows the percent change in sales in 2020 compared with the same week in 2019, helping to reveal how revenue declines may have driven by uncontrollable forces, such as the current COVID-19 global disruption.

Ircg Pandemic Revenue Index April 13 17 2020

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