Distributor Pandemic Index Posts Major Rebound

The penultimate PRI showed a healthy rebound to double-digit gains after weather impacts previously snapped a 13-week growth streak.

Warehouse 11
Mike Hockett/Industrial Distribution

One week after its first contraction in 14 weeks — likely caused by weather impacts across the southern half of the United States — Indian River Consulting Group's weekly distributor Pandemic Revenue Index (PRI) rebounded in a big way in its newest reading, covering the selling week of Feb. 22-26.

The PRI returned to double-digit growth with a reading of 13.0 percent after a -7.2 percent plunge the week before, meaning that for the 13 distributors surveyed, their average sales were up 13.0 percent year-over-year. Seven distributors reported increases, with three of them at more than 50 percent, while the six distributors that saw declines had a range of -3 to -11 percent.

IRCG partner Mike Emerson notes that after 51 weeks, the average weekly change of the PRI is -.28 percent — illustrating that though the PRI has been in growth territory for 14 out of the past 15 weeks, the severe declines during the April-May period were harsh enough to put the overall year-long index just below breakeven. Emerson said four distributors have seen double-digit growth during this 51-week period, while two have seen double-digit declines.

After 51 weeks, the average weekly change of the PRI is -.28%. Four companies have seen double-digit growth during the period while two have seen double-digit declines.

With next week marking the 1-year anniversary since the inception of the PRI, Emerson notes that with this week being PRI's penultimate publishing, as year-over-year sales changes after next week will have much less meaning since the baseline will no longer be before the pandemic.

Created in March 2020, the PRI has sought to provide a weekly snapshot of how industrial distributors' sales have fared during the pandemic compared to a year earlier. The index was created in March 2020 to try and provide a contemporaneous view on prevailing business conditions as the coronavirus began disrupting business. The index is comprised of wholesale distribution companies in different industry verticals across the US. Participants include companies with local and national footprints. \

The chart below shows the weekly percent change in year-over-year sales, unadjusted for holiday impacts:

Ircg Pandemic Revenue Index Feb 22 26 2021

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