Several additional factors positively impacted our sales growth in the first nine months of 2010: (1) the strengthening Canadian dollar (when compared to the United States dollar) added approximately 0.8 percentage points to our daily sales growth and (2) our Holo-Krome business, which we acquired in December 2009, added approximately 0.5 percentage points to our daily sales growth.
We find it helpful to think about the monthly sequential changes in our business using the analogy of climbing a stairway – This stairway has several predictable landings where there is a pause in the sequential gain (i.e. April, July, and October to December), but generally speaking, climbs from January to October. The October landing then establishes the benchmark for the start of the next year.
History has identified these landings in our business cycle. They generally relate to months with impaired business days (certain holidays). The first landing centers on Easter, which alternates between March and April (Easter occurred in April in both 2009 and 2010), the second landing centers on July 4 th, and the third landing centers on the approach of winter with its seasonal impact on primarily our construction business and with the Christmas / New Year holidays. The holidays we noted impact the trends because they either move from month-to-month or because they move around during the week.The table below shows the pattern to the sequential change in our daily sales. The line labeled 'Past' is an historical average of the sequential daily sales change for the period 1998 to 2003. We chose this time frame because it had similar characteristics, a weaker industrial economy in North America, and could serve as a benchmark for a possible trend line. The '2009' and '2010' lines represent our actual sequential daily sales changes. The '09Delta' line is the difference between the 'Past' and '2009'; similarly, the '10Delta' is the difference between the 'Past' and '2010'.