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%.

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