Fastenal reported its April sales results on May 3, showing strength despite being hamstrung by a weak nonresidential construction market.
The industrial and construction supplies distributor reported total April sales of $586 million, up 2.7% year-over-year, with daily sales up 7.8% as April 2023 had one fewer business days than a year earlier.
That April daily sales gain figure was up from 6/8% in March and trailed February’s 9.6% and January’s 11.2%. It beat the 5.9% estimate from Baird Equity Research’s Industrial Distribution division, which noted that April’s gain was “still modestly below the normal month-to-month progression/seasonality” from the firm’s benchmark.
Notes from Fastenal’s April sales report:
- Daily sales in the U.S. grew 7.0% year-over-year (6.7% in March)
- Daily sales in Canada & Mexico grew 14.4% year-over-year (10.7% in March)
- Daily sales to the rest of international grew 3.9% year-over-year (-4.3% in March)
By end market:
- Daily sales to manufacturing customers grew 13.0% year-over-year (11.0% in March)
- Daily sales to nonresidential construction customers decreased 8.2% (-3.5% in March)
By product line:
- Daily sales of fasteners grew 1.2% year-over-year (2.3% in March)
- Daily sales of safety products grew 10.1% year-over-year (7.4% in March)
- Daily sales of all other products grew 12.1% year-over-year (9.9% in March)
By customer/channel type:
- Daily sales to national accounts grew 13.0% year-over-year (11.0% in March)
- Daily sales to non-national accounts grew 1.0% year-over-year (1.0% in March)
- 78.0% of Fastenal’s national accounts grew sales year-over-year (71.0% in March)
- 52.8% of Fastenal’s public branches grew sales year-over-year (55.8% in March)
- Fastenal ended April with a total headcount of 22,821 — virtually identical to March and up 7.1% year-over-year
- Total full-time selling personnel ended April at 14,725 — up 5.5% year-over-year; total full-time non-selling personnel ended April at 5,510 — up 10.0% year-over-year and down 0.9% from March
- Total distribution/transportation personnel ended April at 2,996 — up 8.1% year-over-year and down 1.1% from March
- Total full-time manufacturing personnel ended April at 713 — up 8.4% year-over-year and down 0.1% from March
- Total full-time organizational support personnel ended April at 1,801 — up 14.1% year-over-year and down 0.8% from March
The month followed a 2023 first quarter in which Fastenal reported sales of $1.86 billion that were up 9.1% year-over-year and up 9.6% from 4Q22; gross margin of 45.7% that was equal to a year earlier and trailed 4Q22’s 46.1%; 1Q23 operating profit of $392 million that increased 9.8% year-over-year; and 1Q23 operating margin of 21.2% that trailed the 21.0% of a year earlier and topped 4Q22’s 20.6%. Fastenal had a 1Q23 net profit of $295 million — up 9.5% year-over-year.
Looking forward, Baird said it forecasts Fastenal’s May daily sales to grow 5.0% year-over-year, decelerating sequentially and slightly below days-adjusted normal seasonality. May 2023 has one additional business day vs. May 2022.