Fastenal Q3 Sales Up Despite 'Softer' Manufacturing Demand

The distributor said sales were flat in the final month of the latest quarter.

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Fastenal on Thursday reported higher sales and better-than-expected earnings in the third quarter of the year.

The Minnesota fastener and industrial product distributor — no. 5 on ID’s recently released Big 50 — posted $1.85 billion in net sales from July through September, a 2.4% increase from the $1.8 billion reported in the third quarter of 2022. Sales on a daily average basis, however, were up 4%.

The company saw gross profit, operating income and net earnings climb year-over-year, as well. Its diluted net earnings of $0.52 per share were up 4.1%, narrowly exceeding Wall Street projections. 

Fastenal officials attributed the growth primarily to its “Onsite” locations that opened within the past two years, which helped offset “softer” manufacturing demand and declines in construction and reseller markets during the quarter. Sales in the heavy manufacturing and “other manufacturing” markets climbed by 9% and 2.5%, respectively, while the construction and reseller segments each fell by about 7%.

The company also reported a 2% decline in sales of its fasteners, which it blamed on faster pricing declines and that sector’s susceptibility to weaker manufacturing conditions. Sales of safety supplies and other products increased by 9.2% and 6.8%, respectively, in the third quarter.

Officials noted that its e-commerce business saw a 41.3% increase in sales and accounted for nearly one-quarter of total sales during the quarter.

Fastenal also issued its monthly sales summary on Thursday, which revealed a very slight drop in September sales year-over-year, though sales were up 5% last month on a daily average basis.

In a separate announcement, Fastenal promoted Senior Vice President of Operations Anthony Broersma to executive vice president of operations. Broersma will oversee the company’s “supply chain, compliance, supplier development, content, property management, e-commerce, supply to fulfillment distribution, and logistics operations.”

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