Fastenal closed 52 stores in 2014, up from the 45 it had projected earlier in the year, company officials said uring its annual and fourth quarter conference call
with financial analysts.
And the large MRO distributor, which has become
known for its rapid expansion of new stores, said its
openings this year would be “marginally positive.”
Fastenal opened 24 stores in 2014.
But Lee Hein, president and CEO of Fastenal, said
the company is still able to offer same day delivery and
“superb” walk-in customer service because the stores that
were closed are near other existing ones. “If one of our
district or regional managers looks at our market and
says, I think this market is better served, having us operate
out of 4 points than 5, or 3 points than 4, when we know
we are going to retain an incredibly high percentage of
that business we’ve got to look at and say ‘what’s the
smartest way to grow,’” he said in the conference call.
Fastenal enjoyed a solid 2014 as sales increased to $3.73
billion, a 12 percent increase from the $3.32 billion
reported in fiscal 2013.
The company’s vending
machine business also grew, and
vending now comprises about
40 percent of sales. Vending
sales have become an important
growth strategy and sales have
increased in that business nearly
But Fastenal’s other 60
percent of revenues, the
company said, can be somewhat
traced to investment in people.
Fastenal hired 82 people in the
fourth quarter and hundreds
more, primarily in sales support
positions, during 2014 – giving
outside salespeople more time
The company is especially
pleased with the growth in sales
of fasteners as manufacturing continues to struggle back
from the recession. At the end of 2014, Fastenal was
experiencing double digit growth in that sector. A year
ago, the fastener business was growing less than two
Fastenal is also keeping a close watch on the plunging
cost of oil, which could impact sales in a number of states.
One estimate is that the oil industry comprises sales of up
to 12 percent of Fastenal’s business, but company
executives noted that there is a lag between the oil price
drop and its effect in the market. That lag could be up to
Fastenal intends to “fill in” those stores that would be
“There is that lag. So we are keeping an eye on it and
we are definitely going to fill it in in those regions. The
flipside is we don’t quite understand what it’s going to
do to our other customers because it actually puts a little
wind in their sales, so to speak, from a bottom line. So
that’s kind of how we look at it and how it affects the
company today,” Hein said.
Fastenal: Looking Back, and Ahead