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Applied Banks on New Website for Turnaround

Company unveils new e-commerce offering on heels of disappointing year.
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Fresh off a disappointing fiscal 2016 that saw sales decline 8.4 percent and profit plummet 74.4 percent, Applied Industrial Technologies is looking to regain its footing with a new website designed to give customers a "better user experience," President and CEO Neil A. Schrimsher told analysts on its quarterly earnings call.

The company unveiled the new website, applied.com, about two weeks after releasing its earnings; the site "provides an additional, highly productive channel for current and new customers," Schrimsher said.

Applied is looking to boost its omnichannel presence with the new site, which the company believes will surpass its onsite vendor managed inventory and print and electric catalog channels, as well as attract new customers, with functions that include multichannel quote and order history.

"We have customers that interact and buy from us across multiple of those channels," Schrimsher said. "We think, going forward, more customers will do that in this better site. (A) better user experience, better capability is just going to help current customers that do business with us, and it probably makes us attractive to another new set out there that can come in to our customer base."

The company also is looking at other ways to spur growth with "five straightforward and consistent elements" – core growth, product expansion, an emphasis on fluid power, operational excellence and acquisitions. Schrimsher said the company has a "robust M&A pipeline, (and) we will stay active in extending our business reach and expanding Applied's capabilities to serve industrial customers in our geographic markets."

The company's 2020 strategic objectives call for reaching $3.3 billion in revenues, "assuming modest low-single-digit organic growth, and $150 million plus of revenue from new acquisitions per year. … If end markets improve over this long-range horizon, we are confident we will do even better," Schrimsher said.

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