Fastenal Co. rode the current of increased customer demand and its onsite offerings to strong sales growth for the year.
The distributor of industrial and construction supplies today reported double-digit growth in the fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 2017 for sales made through its internet-connected vending machines at client locations and its “Onsite” product and service locations at customer facilities.
Fastenal doesn’t break out overall B2B e-commerce sales, but did report it signed agreements in the fourth quarter for the placement of 4,266 industrial vending machines, an increase of 13.5% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. For fiscal 2017 its installed device count was 71,421, up 13.7% over fiscal 2016. Sales from those vending machines grew at a double-digit pace in Q4, Fastenal reported.
Fastenal’s internet-connected vending machines, which it places at customers’ industrial plant locations, provide customers self-service access to such products as rivets, nuts and bolts used in manufacturing products or equipment repair. The machines also can be stocked with non-fastener items like safety goggles and work gloves. Employees enter codes into the vending machines to access and retrieve products, then machine sensors connected to the internet record when items are removed to update inventory and financial records. That sets in motion replenishment orders. Fastenal also sells online at Fastenal.com.
The company added 57 Onsite locations in Q4, up 32.6% from 43 signings in the prior year quarter. It reported 605 active sites as of Dec. 31, up 50.9% from the same date in 2016. Onsite locations are Fastenal-stocked and -managed product sales and service centers located at customers’ facilities, and many of them include Fastenal vending machines.
Fastenal also reported that Manufacturer’s Supply Co., or Mansco, contributed 1.4 percentage points to total Q4 sales growth. Fastenal acquired Mansco in March for $57.9 million.
For the 2017 fiscal year ended Dec. 31, Fastenal, No. 57 in the 2018 B2B E-Commerce 300, reported:
- Net sales of $4.391 billion, up 10.8% from $3.962 billion in fiscal 2016.
- Gross profit of $2.163 billion, up 10.1% from $1.964 billion.
- Net earnings of $578.6 million, up 15.9% from $499.4 million.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Fastenal reported:
- Net sales of $1.088 billion, up 14.8% from $947.9 billion.
- Gross profit of $531.2 million, up 12.6% from $471.9 million.
- Net earnings of $152.4 million, up 32.8% from $114.8 million.
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