MSC Industrial Supply Co. wrapped up its 2021 fiscal year last month with strong gains in ecommerce sales that it expects to continue, CEO Erik Gershwind said this week.
With a new site search tool and upgraded online user experience on MSCDirect.com, MSC expects more online gains, Gershwind said on a conference call yesterday with investment analysts, according to a transcript of the call from The Motley Fool. “We continue to upgrade our web infrastructure, including a new search engine, product information platform and user experience” on the company’s flagship ecommerce site, MSCDirect.com, he said, adding: “It will continue to drive improved performance through ecommerce.”
Ecommerce sales back to the 60% share mark
Total ecommerce sales for the fiscal fourth quarter and year ended Aug. 28 accounted for 60% of total sales, following a slight decline in that percentage in earlier quarters as much of MSC’s sales of COVID-related personal protective equipment were sold outside of ecommerce.
For the fiscal fourth quarter, ecommerce sales increased by 11.1% year over year to $498.3 million as total sales rose by the same percentage to $832.0 million. For the full fiscal year, ecommerce sales increased by 3.3% to $1.95 billion as total sales increased by 1.6% to $3.24 billion.
MSC defines as ecommerce all sales through multiple digital platforms, including internet-based vending machines, vendor-managed inventory (VMI) systems, XML-based ordering systems, MSCDirect.com and other electronic portals. But the company processes more than half of its ecommerce sales through MSCDirect.com.
MSC invested about $23 million in its technology and business operations in fiscal 2021 and expects to invest about $15 million in the current fiscal year, said Kristen Actis-Grande, chief financial officer. “These investments will continue to fuel share gains by building out our digital platform and expanding our sales force,” she said.
An MSC digital transformation exec moves up
MSC announced earlier this month the appointment of Kim Shacklett as interim vice president of sales and customer service, following the departure of Edward Martin. Shacklett joined MSC in 2006 as part of MSC’s acquisition of J&L Industrial Supply, and most recently has “led the digital transformation of Customer Care, overseeing the deployment of technologies to enhance the customer experience through omnichannel capabilities while driving productivity and reducing costs,” MSC says.
“I thank Eddie for laying the foundation for market share capture and improved execution,” Gershwind said in announcing the change. He added that Shacklett “is the right person to build upon the growing momentum and market share capture.”
MSC’s formal corporate name is MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc., but it often goes by the name of its primary unit, MSC Industrial Supply Co.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Aug. 28, MSC also reported:
- Net income increased year over year by 25.2% to $65.88 million;
- Gross profit increased by 12.2% to $348.98 million, resulting in a gross profit margin of 42%;
- A field sales force of 2,398 associates, up from 2,263 a year earlier. These include personnel at MSC Mexico and the industrial distributor Wm. F. Hurst Co., in which MSC acquired a majority stake earlier this year.
For the full fiscal year ended Aug. 28, MSC reported:
- Net income decreased year over year by 13.4% to $217.94 million;
- Gross profit dipped by 0.7% to $348.98 million, resulting in a gross profit margin of 41%.
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