Distributor Pandemic Index Narrowly Dips Back Into Red

However, the past few weeks have illustrated just how far business conditions have improved for distributors since late June.

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Mike Hockett/Industrial Distribution

Indian River Consulting Group's Distributor Pandemic Revenue Index gained two new respondents this for it's latest survey, helping improve the PRI's accuracy and applicability as a snapshot of distributors' year-over-year revenue amid impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

After finally moving into positive territory for the week of July 27-31 at a mark of +1.3 percent, the latest index showed a slight regression back into the negative at a reading of -0.8 percent for the week of Aug. 3-7, meaning that for the 12 distributors surveyed, their average revenue for that week was down 0.8 percent compared to a year earlier.

Despite the modest decline, the latest index shows further steadying in the index and just how far business conditions have improved since just late June. After bottoming out at -30.5 percent for the week of April 6-10 during the worst of the pandemic impacts, the index hovered in the negative teens through mid-May and improved to negative single digits for most of June, but was still down -10.2 percent for the week of June 22-26. Excluding the week of the 4th of July that was considerably skewed due to an extra selling day, the index mostly held in the negative mid-single digits through July before improving to +1.3 percent in the final week of the month.

"It’s interesting that the last two weeks very closely mirror what we saw at the end of May and beginning of June," commented Mike Emerson, IRCG partner. "The last week of the month showed very rare instances of growth with the following week showing a small decline. If the pattern holds, the next few weeks will show greater declines."

Emerson added that half of this week's dozen participants saw a year-over-year sales gain for the week of Aug. 3-7, but that there was much larger variance among them. The best respondent sales gain was 38 percent, while the worst was a symmetrical 38 percent decline.

IRCG would like to increase the sample size for the PRI and is calling on distributors to participate. If you are interested, reach out to Emerson at memerson@ircg.com. Next week's index will mark 26 weeks that IRCG has collected data for the PRI, and Emerson noted the group will be able to closer examine half-year trends.

The chart below shows the percent change in sales in 2020 compared with the same week in 2019.

Ircg Pandemic Revenue Index August 03 07 2020

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