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MSC’s fourth-quarter ecommerce sales fell about 3% from a year ago but still accounted for 61% of total net sales. CEO Erik Gershwind said he expects ecommerce sales to improve with planned upgrades to the distributor’s flagship website MSCDirect.com.

MSC Industrial Supply Co. reached a milestone during its 2023 fiscal year ended Sept. 2, surpassing $4 billion in annual net sales for the first time, president and CEO Erik Gershwind said today.

Looking forward, we expect improvement in our ecommerce sales.
Kirsten Actis-Grande, executive vide president and chief financial officer
MSC Industrial Supply Co.

The metalworking and industrial supplies distributor said sales increased 8.6% year over year to $4.009 billion. And that happened even though MSC Industrial ecommerce sales, which account for more than 60% of total sales, slid by 3% year over year in the fiscal fourth quarter. Gershwind attributed the drop in digital sales mainly to public sector sales occurring in non-ecommerce channels.


Kristen Actis-Grande_MSCIndustrialSupply

Kirsten Actis-Grande, executive vice president and chief financial officer, MSC Industrial Supply Co.

MSC Industrial ecommerce sales

Full-year MSC Industrial ecommerce sales, however, rose 9.1% to $2.45 billion. Gershwind and Kirsten Actis-Grande, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said they expect to see improved ecommerce sales, especially as MSC rolls out upgrades to the company’s flagship ecommerce site, MSCDirect.com.


“Looking forward, we expect improvement in our ecommerce sales, particularly through MSCDirect.com, as we start rolling out enhanced capabilities, including improved search and navigation functions,” Actis-Grande said on a Q4 earnings call with investment analysts today.

Gershwind added that the “heavy-lifting” on ecommerce improvements have already been completed and that the ecommerce upgrades will occur “over the next quarter or so. … That’s when customers will begin seeing an impact.”

Still, he cautioned that the impact of better ecommerce technology will not be like turning on a light switch.

“This will build over time,” said, adding: “It is one of the things, though, that gives us confidence beyond this year.”


MSC Industrial defines ecommerce sales as those through digital channels including its ecommerce platforms, internet-connected vending machines, EDI, XML-based ordering systems and other electronic portals. MSC’s formal corporate name is MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc., but it generally goes by the name of its main business unit, MSC Industrial Supply Co.

MSC Industrial earnings

For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 2, MSC Industrial reported:

  • Total net sales rose 1.3% year over year to of $1.035 billion.
  • MSC Industrial ecommerce sales fell about 3% to $627.1 million, accounting for 60.5% of total sales.
  • Gross profit margin of 40.5%, down from 41.9%.
  • Net income fell 15.9% to $87.623 million.

For the fiscal year, MSC Industrial reported:

  • Gross profit margin of 41.0%, down from 42.2%
  • Net income inched up 1% to $343.23 million.

Paul Demery is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy. [email protected].

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding. Check back for more earnings reports. Here’s last quarter’s MSC Industrial report.


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