Compared to last year, how have your profits fared?
Compared to last year, how have your sales fared?
BY ANNA WELLS
Last year’s “Balance Sheet” section may have felt like a bad omen, as it showed some year-over-year sales declines for
the distributors who responded to our
survey. In fact, last year’s group of 58 percent who said they’d experienced a sales
increase that year was the lowest since
the peak recession year of 2009. A full 17
percent said they’d actually experienced
a sales decline, which was a much higher
result than what was reported in 2011 and
On a positive note, this year’s survey
respondents seem to be leveling out a little
when it comes to sales. Nearly 65 percent
say their sales have increased over last
year, with over 22 percent saying they’ve
stayed the same (Figure 1). This means the
ones dealing with a decline have dropped
more than four percentage points. From
the perspective of larger companies, this
past Fall’s Industrial Distribution Big 50 List
featured more companies with a billion+
dollars in sales than it ever has before. In
fact, the top 18 companies have all hit the
billion dollar mark, with #1 Wolseley topping $19 billion in annual sales.
While sales may be up for some, profitability appears to be a bit stagnant. Last
year, 51 percent said their profits had increased year-over-year, which is about the
same as what has been reported this year
(Figure 2). The bright spot, though a slight
one, is that the number who said profits
had decreased went down by 2. 5 percentage points (from 20 percent to 17. 5).
Optimism for next year’s sales seems to
have improved a bit as well. Of this year’s
survey respondents, 76 percent say they
expect sales to increase in the coming year.
While this result is similar to what we saw