The American Hardware Manufacturers Association’s AHMA Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index’s Current Situation Index declined in March to 200 from 229.2 in February (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index also declined to 206.9 from 246.6 a month earlier.
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 48% of respondents said sales were higher in March versus year-ago levels, down from 55% in February. For March, 28% reported sales were even, and 24% said sales were below year-ago levels.
Looking forward six months, 48% of March respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, down from 70% in February. In March, 45% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months and 7% expect sales to be below current levels.
Looking forward one year, 72% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 73% who felt that way in February. Twenty-four percent of March respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 3% project sales will be below current levels.
“March marks the third consecutive month of declining sales, versus year-ago levels, for manufacturers responding to our survey," said Timothy Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA. "Reports from other associations and government agencies on housing starts and sales have also been declining. Unfortunately, we believe current economic conditions will continue to restrain growth for the home improvement industry for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012.”