SCHAUMBURG, IL -- The American Hardware Manufacturers Association's (AHMA) Home Improvement Industry Confidence Index's Current Situation Index improved significantly to 112.5 in December from 54.1 in November (October 2008 = 100), while the Future Expectations Index moved down slightly to 225.9 from 241.4 in November.
In comparing current sales levels to year-ago levels, 27 percent of respondents said sales were higher in December versus year-ago levels, up from 13 percent in November. For December, 21 percent reported sales were even, and 52 percent said sales were below year-ago levels, down from 57 percent in November.
Looking forward six months, 60 percent of December respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, up from 57 percent in November. In December, 31 percent of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months and 10 percent expect sales to be below current levels.
Looking forward one year, 71 percent of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 83 percent who felt that way in November. Twenty-five percent of December respondents project sales will be even one year from now and just four percent project sales will be below current levels.
Timothy S. Farrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA), said: "While it is encouraging that 27 percent of our member companies reported higher sales in December versus year-ago levels, the fact that 73 percent are not experiencing growth makes it clear that the home improvement industry still has a long way to go before we can declare an end to the current recession."
"Hot Topic" Questions
The December Confidence Index survey asked two supplemental questions of AHMA members:
"What effect do you feel the passage of health reform bills currently under consideration in Congress will have on your business?" and "What is your opinion, or feeling, of the political process and how Congress has conducted its business over the past few months in moving toward what now appears to be very likely passage of the health reform bill?"
To the first question, on the effect of the reform bill on their business, eight percent responded "Positive," 21 percent responded "Neutral," and 71 percent responded "Negative."
On their opinion of how Congress has conducted its business, four percent responded "Positive," 12 percent responded "Neutral," and 84 percent responded "Negative."