Although recent acquisitions have not boosted the industrial distributor’s ecommerce sales, ecommerce accounted for 60% of total sales in the third quarter, MSC executives said today.

Ecommerce sales at MSC Industrial Supply Co. increased 6.2% year over year for its three fiscal quarters ended June 1, just below the 6.6% year-to-date growth in total net sales to $2.52 billion, the distributor of industrial supplies said today.

We are not happy with our current results and, as a result, we are taking action.
Erik Gershwind, CEO
MSC Industrial Supply Co.

That’s not to say that MSC’s ecommerce sales, which in recent years have grown faster than total sales, are any less important than they’ve been to the company’s growth. Third-quarter ecommerce sales of $520.8 million accounted for 60.1% of total sales of $866.5 million, the company tells B2BecNews. MSC includes in ecommerce transactions through its ecommerce site, internet-connected vending machines and electronic data interchange.

MSC also reported that its total net sales for the third quarter increased only 4.6% year over year. “Our fiscal third-quarter performance leaves us disappointed,” said CEO Erik Gershwind. “We have seen a step-down in demand since April, while the pricing environment remains uncertain due to the overhang of tariffs and trade.”

A bright spot in vending

One of the bright spots, he added, was in MSC’s ongoing growth in its internet-connected vending machines, which it places at customer locations. Customers log into the machines to open them and retrieve items ranging from bolts and tools to work gloves, with the transaction recorded and inventory records updated online.

“We are not happy with our current results and, as a result, we are taking action,” Gershwind said. “We are, however, encouraged by progress in some critical areas. Our pace of account wins is strong, our vending implementations are growing rapidly and we are deepening our commitment to our valued supplier partners. Finally, our team is committed to executing our plan with urgency as we continue our journey to becoming a mission-critical partner on the plant floor.”


Gershwind said on a conference call with stock analysts today that MSC’s vending signings “are up 50% for the year,” and adding: “While it takes time for signings to turn into revenues, they are a good indicator of future growth prospects and [market] share capture,” according to transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha.

He added on the call that MSC’s relatively new team about 100 business development sales agents, which he also calls “hunters,” are “beginning to hit their stride” and bringing in new accounts each month. As new customers arrive, they often add to MSC’s online as well as offline sales.

MSC’s formal name is MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc., but it generally goes by MSC Industrial Supply Co., the name of its primary subsidiary.

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