Fastenal Q1 Sales Rise but Fall Short of Forecasts

The company’s fastener sales hindered its overall numbers.

Fastenal branch, Hickory, N.C., Jan. 2019.
Fastenal branch, Hickory, N.C., Jan. 2019. Michael Jones

Fastenal’s sales, profit and earnings each edged up in the company’s first quarter, but not enough to meet analysts’ forecasts.

The Minnesota-based distributor’s operating income, meanwhile, declined compared to the same quarter last year.

The company on Thursday reported just shy of $1.9 billion in net sales during the January-March window, up 1.9% from the same period in 2023. Wall Street forecasts had reportedly anticipated $1.91 billion in quarterly revenue.

Its net income of nearly $298 million was up by nearly 1% over that span, while gross profit climbed by 1.4% year-over-year to nearly $862 million. Operating income slid by 0.8% to just over $390 million, and declined as a percentage of net sales to 20.6%; gross profit as a percentage of net sales dropped to 45.5%.

Fastenal officials attributed the increased sales numbers to growth from its larger customers and at its newer “Onsite” locations. Although most other product categories saw growth, the company’s fastener sales were down across both the MRO and OEM segments, which executives blamed on falling prices and those products' greater exposure to a sluggish industrial environment.

The company noted that product pricing, which helped boost net sales in the first quarter of last year, did not have a material impact on sales in the latest period, while adverse weather had a greater negative impact on sales to begin the current year.

The company’s e-commerce sales were up by more than 33% on a daily average basis in the latest quarter, accounting for nearly 29% of overall sales.

“We continued to experience a divergence in the performance of our manufacturing end market versus our non-manufacturing end markets in the first quarter of 2024, although the scale of that divergence has continued to narrow,” Fastenal officials said in the company’s earnings statement.

The company also posted its March sales numbers on Thursday. The overall number was down due to two fewer business days during the month, but sales rose 1.8% on a daily average basis.

Fastenal ranked 5th on ID’s latest Big 50 list of North American industrial distributors.

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