Fastenal earnings, sales rise
Fastenal Co.'s third-quarter earnings rose 9.2 percent on increased sales and slightly higher margins.
For the period, Fastenal reported a profit of $119.4 million, or 40 cents a share, up from $109.3 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose 7 percent to $858.4 million.
Fastenal, which sells fasteners, tools and other industrial and construction supplies, has opened 44 new stores in the first nine months of 2013, a 1.7 percent increase, for a total of 2,686.
But it has installed 11,153 FAST Solutions industrial vending machines in that same time, a 52.9 percent increase, for a total of 32,248.
"We believe industrial vending is the next logical chapter in the Fastenal story; we also believe it has the potential to be transformative to industrial distribution, and that we have a 'first mover' advantage," Fastenal said. "We are investing aggressively to maximize this advantage."
As in its second-quarter report, the company again warned that sales growth was held back in part by global economic uncertainty and economic policy uncertainty in the U.S.Fastenal has faced slowing sales-growth momentum in recent quarters amid sluggish demand in its industrial production and nonresidential-construction markets.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast per-share earnings of 41 cents on revenue of $863 million.
Gross margin edged up to 51.7% from 51.6%.