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Fastenal Co., Winona, MN, (Nasdaq: FAST) reported sales for 2016 increased 2.4 percent to $4 billion. Profit fell 3.3 percent to $499.5 million.
The number of stores open in 2016 was down 4.5 percent to 2,503. FAST Solutions machines were up 13.2 percent to 62,822 vending machines. And employee count was down 5.4 percent to 19,624.
The company said its workforce reduction can be primarily attributed to natural attrition rather than an active headcount reduction program and that it continues to add headcount where necessary to support growth initiatives, notably onsite business (dedicated sales and service provided from within the customer's facility).
"However, the continued softness of the North American industrial economy has caused us to more intensively scrutinize our full- and part-time staffing levels outside of these initiatives," the company said. "Indeed, after increasing our total headcount every quarter during 2015, it has declined during every quarter of 2016. Our current staffing levels approximate those at the end of 2014."
In the fourth quarter, sales were up 2.7 percent from the prior-year period to $947.9 million. Profit in the fourth quarter increased 2.6 percent to $114.8 million.
Fastenal reported sales for December of $295.9 million, a 3.2 percent increase year-over-year. Daily sales increased 3.2 percent to an average of $14.1 million. During the month, sales to manufacturing customers grew 4.3 percent, while sales to nonresidential construction customers fell 1.6 percent.