Industrial distributor MSC Industrial Supply Co. (NYSE: MSM), Melville, New York, reported sales of $771.9 million for its fiscal first quarter, a 6.3% decrease compared to the year-ago period. Quarterly profit was $38.5 million, a 41.5% decrease compared with the first quarter last year.
“Our fiscal first quarter reflected building momentum for our Mission Critical initiative against the backdrop of a challenging but improving environment,” said Erik Gershwind, president and CEO of MSC. “We saw continued sequential improvement in sales of non-safety and non-janitorial product lines, while sales of safety and janitorial products, anchored by our PPE program, grew roughly 20%. That momentum continued into December, which we forecast at 2.4% growth over prior year. Inside of the company, we made solid progress against our growth initiatives. We also saw strong execution on the pricing and purchasing fronts, yielding a 30 basis point sequential improvement in gross margin in the quarter despite a headwind from some large PPE sales.”