Posted January 11, 2017

MSC sales decline 2.9 percent

MSC Industrial Supply reported first quarter 2017 fiscal net sales of $686.3 million, a decline of 2.9% year-over-year from $706.8 million.

Net income of $54.1 million declined 1.7 percent from $55 million in the same period last year. Earnings per share of 95 cents improved from 89 cents in last year's first quarter, resulting from lower operating expenses and a share buyback program initiated in August.

"While the demand environment remained difficult in our first quarter and pricing remained soft, we saw a better than expected November. As we moved into December, the start of our fiscal second quarter, we saw growth in sales, as well as improvement across all of our customer types and a higher mix of machinery, machine tool accessories, tool holders, and tooling package orders. These capital-related sales have historically increased when customers are more optimistic about investing in their businesses," said Erik Gershwind, president and chief executive officer.

Gershwind concluded, "We have operated in the midst of a prolonged industrial recession, one that was particularly acute in our primary end markets of metalworking manufacturing. We are, however, seeing signs of greater optimism. At present, it appears that there is a leveling in manufacturing occurring and, in December, we saw greater spending on categories that are indicative of customer optimism. We are certainly more positive than even a few short months ago. Even so, we would need to see sustained increases in order activity before we declare that the environment has turned."

Based on current market conditions, the company expects net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2017 to be between $688 million and $701 million.