Fastenal reported its October sales information on Thursday, showing a reversal from a previous downward trend in daily sales and safety product sales over the summer.
The Winona, MN-based company — No. 5 on Industrial Distribution's 2020 Big 50 List — reported total October sales of $488 million. That's down 0.4 percent year-over-year, but includes one fewer selling day than a year earlier. The company's daily sales improved 4.1 percent YoY. Daily sales growth had steadily slowed from 9.5 percent in June to 2.6 in July, 2.5 percent in August and 2.2 percent in September.
As far as product mix in October, safety still by-and-far leads the way with 32.0 percent YoY growth, and up from 8.0 percent growth a year earlier. Like daily sales, safety had steadily slowed each month since peaking at 136.3 percent growth in May, at the height of business' early response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That safety sales growth figure had decelerated to 38.0 percent in July, 35.1 percent in August and 30.0 percent in September before bumping up to 32.0 percent YoY growth in October.
Meanwhile, sales of Fastenal's fastener products continue to steadily regulate. After bottoming out at a -22.5 percent decline in April amid Fastenal customers prioritizing PPE procurement, the company's fastener sales improved to -7.5 percent by July, -7.3 percent in August, -6.1 in September and -4.7 percent in October. Fastener sales were at 5.0 and 7.0 percent YoY growth in January and February 2020, respectively, before the pandemic ramped up in March.
At 3.0 percent, October was also Fastenal's best month for US sales growth since June's 10.5 percent. That figure had hovered around 2.0 percent throughout the summer months. October sales to Canada/Mexico improved 6.8 percent YoY (2.4 percent in September), while other International sales surged 30.7 percent (11.1 percent in September).
By end market, Fastenal's sales to manufacturing customers dipped 0.1 percent YoY (-3.8 percent in Sept.) while sales to non-residential construction customers fell 9.9 percent (-11.3 percent in Sept.).
Fastenal ended October with a total headcount of 20,290, down negligibly from September and down 7.7 percent YoY.