Posted October 13, 2020

Safety products sales drive 3Q gain at Fastenal 

Sales of safety products helped Fastenal achieve a 2.5 percent sales increase in the third quarter.

Fastenal Company reported sales of $1.4 billion for the quarter, a 2.5 percent increase from $1.38 billion in the same period last year.

Net earnings of $221.5 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, compared to $213.5 million, or 37 cents, in last year's third quarter.

This increase was driven primarily by higher unit sales of safety products, where volume moderated relative to the pandemic-driven level of "surge" sales in the second quarter, but remained elevated relative to the third quarter of 2019. Re-opening of the economy has been accompanied by greater demand for personal protection equipment, hand sanitizer, and related products, which more than offset continued softness in underlying business activity owing to a generally weak industrial marketplace for products unrelated to mitigating the effects of COVID-19.

"The tone of the third quarter of 2020 can best be described as one of normalization following the heavily pandemic-influenced second quarter of 2020. Activity levels throughout the period remained below those that existed prior to the onset of the pandemic and the related mitigation efforts. Based on trends in vending dispenses and hub picks during the period, however, we believe there was gradual sequential improvement in general business activity each month of the quarter," according to a company statement.

Daily sales of safety products grew 34.4 percent over the third quarter of 2019, and represented 23.8 percent of net sales in the third quarter of 2020. Safety products represented 34.0 of net sales in the second quarter and 18.2 percent of net sales in the second quarter of 2020.

September sales results
In a separate announcement, Fastenal reported that September sales of $478.6 million increased by 7.3 percent from $445.9 million in September 2019. Daily sales of $22.8 million compared to $22.3 million last year.