The American Hardware Manufacturers Association says fewer members reported higher February sales.
Manufacturers also reported plans for increasing international sales and a strong need for more affordable health care, according to the Schaumburg, Ill.-based association.
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 48% of respondents said sales were higher in February versus year-ago levels, down from 62.5% in January. For February, 43% reported sales were even, and 9% said sales were below year-ago levels.
“Despite a very challenging macroeconomic environment and the lack of a clear future cost structure in terms of taxes, health care costs, etc., most of our members continue to produce positive sales results,” said Timothy Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA. “With economists predicting very slow growth for 2013, our members are concentrating on maximizing profits by managing their businesses as efficiently as possible.”
The AHMA also released results from its hot-topic survey on international sales and health care. Members were asked: “Do your plans for 2013 include increasing international sales?” The response: 57% “Yes,” 24% responded “Not Sure,” and 19% responded “No.”
A second question about health care was unanimous. A full 100% responded “Very important” to the question: “As a manufacturer, how important is it to your business that health care costs stop rising and become more affordable?”