Fastenal sees sales, earnings rise in Q3

Winona, Minn.-based construction and industrial supply company Fastenal reported net third-quarter earnings of $72.9 million, up 17.3 percent from $62.14 million in the same period last year. Net sales were $625 million, an increase of 17.1 percent compared with net sales of $533.8 million in the year-ago period.

Fastenal opened several new stores over the past three quarters, with 140 new locations in the first nine months of the year. In total, the company operates around 2,300 stores in the United States.

Still, Fastenal reiterated plans to move away from using new stores as a primary driver of income growth.

“For most of the last decade, we have used store openings as the primary growth driver of our business, opening approximately 14 percent new stores each year,” the company said in a statement. Future plans include adding more outside sales personnel to existing stores, while trimming store growth to around 7 percent to 10 percent per year.

The company has set a goal of growing the average per-store sales rate to $125,000 per month in the five-year period from 2007 to 2012.

In spite of the strong performance, Fastenal said it saw negative impacts from rising fuel prices. Most notably, fuel costs rose to $3.7 million per month in the third quarter compared with $2.4 million per month in last year’s third quarter.