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EX-10.1 - CREDIT AGREEMENT - FASTENAL COfast33114ex_101.htm

 
 
 
 
 
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549 
 
FORM 10-Q
 
 
(Mark One)
ý
Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2014, or
¨
Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from                    to                    
Commission file number 0-16125
 
 
FASTENAL COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Minnesota
 
41-0948415
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2001 Theurer Boulevard
Winona, Minnesota
 
55987-0978
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(507) 454-5374
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Not Applicable
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files.)    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, and “smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer
 
ý
  
Accelerated Filer
 
¨
 
 
 
 
Non-accelerated Filer
 
¨  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
  
Smaller Reporting Company
 
¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  ý
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the last practicable date.
 
Class
 
Outstanding at April 10, 2014
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
 
296,639,119
 
 
 
 
 




FASTENAL COMPANY
INDEX
 
 
Page No.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




PART I — FINANCIAL INFORMATION

ITEM 1 — FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 
FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Balance Sheets
(Amounts in thousands except share information)
 
(Unaudited)
 
 
Assets
March 31,
2014
 
December 31,
2013
Current assets:
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
89,021

 
58,506

Marketable securities
453

 
451

Trade accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $9,949 and $9,248, respectively
473,181

 
414,331

Inventories
793,987

 
784,068

Deferred income tax assets
17,893

 
18,248

Prepaid income taxes

 
24,869

Other current assets
100,957

 
107,988

Total current assets
1,475,492

 
1,408,461

 
 
 
 
Property and equipment, less accumulated depreciation
677,295

 
654,850

Other assets, net
12,319

 
12,473

 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
2,165,106

 
2,075,784

 
 
 
 
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
 
 
 
Current liabilities:
 
 
 
Accounts payable
$
105,697

 
91,253

Accrued expenses
148,569

 
148,579

Income taxes payable
47,260

 

Total current liabilities
301,526

 
239,832

 
 
 
 
Deferred income tax liabilities
63,256

 
63,255

 
 
 
 
Stockholders' equity:
 
 
 
Preferred stock, 5,000,000 shares authorized

 

Common stock, 400,000,000 shares authorized, 296,624,319 and 296,753,544 shares issued and outstanding, respectively
2,966

 
2,968

Additional paid-in capital
64,573

 
69,847

Retained earnings
1,726,519

 
1,688,781

Accumulated other comprehensive income
6,266

 
11,101

Total stockholders' equity
1,800,324

 
1,772,697

Total liabilities and stockholders' equity
$
2,165,106

 
2,075,784

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.


1


FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Earnings
(Amounts in thousands except earnings per share)
 
(Unaudited)
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
2014
 
2013
Net sales
$
876,501

 
806,326

 
 
 
 
Cost of sales
428,023

 
384,446

Gross profit
448,478

 
421,880

 
 
 
 
Operating and administrative expenses
269,843

 
247,334

Gain on sale of property and equipment
(216
)
 
(213
)
Operating income
178,851

 
174,759

 
 
 
 
Interest income
120

 
447

Interest expense
(126
)
 
(34
)
 
 
 
 
Earnings before income taxes
178,845

 
175,172

 
 
 
 
Income tax expense
66,914

 
66,124

 
 
 
 
Net earnings
$
111,931

 
109,048

 
 
 
 
Basic net earnings per share
$
0.38

 
0.37

 
 
 
 
Diluted net earnings per share
$
0.38

 
0.37

 
 
 
 
Basic weighted average shares outstanding
296,642

 
296,643

 
 
 
 
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding
297,495

 
297,652

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.


2


FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
(Amounts in thousands)
 
(Unaudited)
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
2014
 
2013
Net earnings
$
111,931

 
109,048

Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax:
 
 
 
Foreign currency translation adjustments (net of tax of $0 in 2014 and 2013)
(4,837
)
 
(4,072
)
Change in marketable securities (net of tax of $0 in 2014 and 2013)
2

 
63

Comprehensive income
$
107,096

 
105,039

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.


3


FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(Amounts in thousands)
 
(Unaudited)
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
2014
 
2013
Cash flows from operating activities:
 
 
 
Net earnings
$
111,931

 
109,048

Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities:
 
 
 
Depreciation of property and equipment
17,281

 
15,152

Gain on sale of property and equipment
(216
)
 
(213
)
Bad debt expense
2,796

 
2,045

Deferred income taxes
356

 
379

Stock-based compensation
1,380

 
1,350

Excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation
(550
)
 
(954
)
Amortization of non-compete agreements
132

 
26

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
 
 
 
Trade accounts receivable
(61,646
)
 
(48,619
)
Inventories
(9,919
)
 
14,899

Other current assets
7,031

 
13,478

Accounts payable
6,444

 
(2,692
)
Accrued expenses
(10
)
 
(64
)
Income taxes
72,679

 
60,001

Other
(4,391
)
 
(3,592
)
Net cash provided by operating activities
143,298

 
160,244

 
 
 
 
Cash flows from investing activities:
 
 
 
Purchases of property and equipment
(32,564
)
 
(55,513
)
Proceeds from sale of property and equipment
1,054

 
1,267

Increase in marketable securities
(2
)
 
(63
)
Net decrease (increase) in other assets
22

 
(3
)
Net cash used in investing activities
(31,490
)
 
(54,312
)
 
 
 
 
Cash flows from financing activities:
 
 
 
Borrowings under line of credit
140,000

 
20,000

Payments against line of credit
(140,000
)
 
(20,000
)
Proceeds from exercise of stock options
1,641

 
2,821

Excess tax benefits from stock-based compensation
550

 
954

Purchases of common stock
(8,847
)
 

Payment of dividends
(74,193
)
 
(29,662
)
Net cash used in financing activities
(80,849
)
 
(25,887
)
 
 
 
 
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash
(444
)
 
(416
)
 
 
 
 
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents
30,515

 
79,629

 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period
58,506

 
79,611

 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period
$
89,021

 
159,240

 
 
 
 
Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information:
 
 
 
Cash paid during each period for interest
$
70

 
34

Net cash (received) paid during each period for income taxes
$
(6,216
)
 
6,502

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.

4

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

 
(1) Basis of Presentation
The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements of Fastenal Company and subsidiaries (collectively referred to as the Company, Fastenal, or by terms such as we, our, or us) have been prepared in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles for interim financial information. They do not include all information and footnotes required by United States generally accepted accounting principles for complete financial statements. However, except as described herein, there has been no material change in the information disclosed in the notes to consolidated financial statements included in our consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2013. In the opinion of management, all adjustments (consisting of normal recurring accruals) considered necessary for a fair presentation have been included.

(2) Financial Instruments and Marketable Securities
Due to the varying short-term cash needs of our business, we periodically have marketable securities. We value these assets utilizing a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value. The hierarchy gives the highest priority to unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets and liabilities (Level 1) and the lowest priority to measurements involving unobservable inputs (Level 3). The three levels of the fair value hierarchy and how they are determined are defined in our 2013 annual report on Form 10-K in Note 1 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
The following table presents the placement in the fair value hierarchy of assets that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
 
March 31, 2014:
Total
 
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
Common stock
$
453

 
453

 

 

Total available-for-sale securities
$
453

 
453

 

 

 
December 31, 2013:
Total
 
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
Common stock
$
451

 
451

 

 

Total available-for-sale securities
$
451

 
451

 

 

 
March 31, 2013:
Total
 
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
Common stock
$
417

 
417

 

 

Total available-for-sale securities
$
417

 
417

 

 

There were no transfers between levels during the three month periods ended March 31, 2014 and 2013.
As of March 31, 2014December 31, 2013, and March 31, 2013, our financial assets that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis consisted of common stock.


5

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

Marketable securities, all treated as available-for-sale securities, consist of the following:
 
March 31, 2014:
Amortized
Cost
 
Gross
Unrealized
Gains
 
Gross
Unrealized
Losses
 
Fair Value
Common stock
$
197

 
256

 

 
453

Total available-for-sale securities
$
197

 
256

 

 
453

 
December 31, 2013:
Amortized
Cost
 
Gross
Unrealized
Gains
 
Gross
Unrealized
Losses
 
Fair Value
Common stock
$
197

 
254

 

 
451

Total available-for-sale securities
$
197

 
254

 

 
451

 
March 31, 2013:
Amortized
Cost
 
Gross
Unrealized
Gains
 
Gross
Unrealized
Losses
 
Fair Value
Common stock
$
197

 
220

 

 
417

Total available-for-sale securities
$
197

 
220

 

 
417

The unrealized gains and losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income and the realized gains and losses recorded in earnings were immaterial during the periods reported in these consolidated financial statements.
Future maturities of our available-for-sale securities consist of the following:
 
 
Less than 12 Months
 
Greater than 12 Months
March 31, 2014:
Amortized
Cost
 
Fair
Value
 
Amortized
Cost
 
Fair
Value
Common stock
$
197

 
453

 

 

Total available-for-sale securities
$
197

 
453

 

 

 



6

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

(3) Stockholders’ Equity
Our authorized, issued, and outstanding shares (stated in whole numbers) consist of the following:
 
 
Par Value
 
March 31,
2014
 
December 31,
2013
 
March 31,
2013
Preferred stock
$.01
/share
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shares authorized
 
 
5,000,000

 
5,000,000

 
5,000,000

Shares issued and outstanding
 
 

 

 

Common stock
$.01
/share
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shares authorized
 
 
400,000,000

 
400,000,000

 
400,000,000

Shares issued and outstanding
 
 
296,624,319

 
296,753,544

 
296,686,427

Dividends
On April 10, 2014, our board of directors declared a dividend of $0.25 per share of common stock. This dividend is to be paid in cash on May 23, 2014 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 25, 2014. Since 2011 we have paid quarterly dividends. Our board of directors expects to continue paying quarterly dividends, provided the future determination as to payment of dividends will depend on the financial needs of the Company and such other factors as deemed relevant by the board of directors.
The following table presents the dividends either paid previously or declared by our board of directors for future payment:

 
2014
 
2013
First quarter
$
0.25

 
$
0.10

Second quarter
0.25

 
0.20

Third quarter


 
0.25

Fourth quarter


 
0.25

Total
$
0.50

 
$
0.80



7

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

Stock Options

The following tables summarize the details of grants made under our stock option plan that are still outstanding, and the assumptions used to value these options. All options granted were effective at the close of business on the date of grant.
 
 
Options
Granted
 
Option
Exercise
(Strike)
Price
 
Closing
Stock Price
on Date
of Grant
 
March 31, 2014
Date of Grant
 
 
 
Options
Outstanding
 
Options
Exercisable
April 16, 2013
205,000

 
$
54.00

 
$
49.25

 
172,500

 

April 17, 2012
1,235,000

 
$
54.00

 
$
49.01

 
1,115,000

 

April 19, 2011
410,000

 
$
35.00

 
$
31.78

 
340,000

 
25,000

April 20, 2010
530,000

 
$
30.00

 
$
27.13

 
300,000

 

April 21, 2009
790,000

 
$
27.00

 
$
17.61

 
411,600

 
171,600

April 15, 2008
550,000

 
$
27.00

 
$
24.35

 
197,500

 
103,750

April 17, 2007
4,380,000

 
$
22.50

 
$
20.15

 
1,719,255

 
1,071,255

Total
8,100,000

 
 
 
 
 
4,255,855

 
1,371,605

Date of Grant
Risk-free
Interest Rate
 
Expected Life of
Option in Years
 
Expected
Dividend
Yield
 
Expected
Stock
Volatility
 
Estimated Fair
Value of Stock
Option
April 16, 2013
0.7
%
 
5.00
 
1.6
%
 
37.42
%
 
$
12.66

April 17, 2012
0.9
%
 
5.00
 
1.4
%
 
39.25
%
 
$
13.69

April 19, 2011
2.1
%
 
5.00
 
1.6
%
 
39.33
%
 
$
11.20

April 20, 2010
2.6
%
 
5.00
 
1.5
%
 
39.10
%
 
$
8.14

April 21, 2009
1.9
%
 
5.00
 
1.0
%
 
38.80
%
 
$
3.64

April 15, 2008
2.7
%
 
5.00
 
1.0
%
 
30.93
%
 
$
7.75

April 17, 2007
4.6
%
 
4.85
 
1.0
%
 
31.59
%
 
$
5.63

All of the options in the tables above vest and become exercisable over a period of up to eight years. Each option will terminate, to the extent not previously exercised, 13 months after the end of the relevant vesting period.
 
The fair value of each share-based option is estimated on the date of grant using a Black-Scholes valuation method that uses the assumptions listed above. The expected life is the average length of time over which we expect the employee groups will exercise their options, which is based on historical experience with similar grants. Expected volatilities are based on the movement of our stock over the most recent historical period equivalent to the expected life of the option. The risk-free interest rate is based on the U.S. Treasury rate over the expected life at the time of grant. The dividend yield is estimated over the expected life based on our current dividend payout, historical dividends paid, and expected future cash dividends.
Compensation expense equal to the grant date fair value is recognized for all of these awards over the vesting period. The stock-based compensation expense for the three month periods ended March 31, 2014 and 2013 was $1,380 and $1,350, respectively. Unrecognized compensation expense related to outstanding unvested stock options as of March 31, 2014 was $14,709 and is expected to be recognized over a weighted average period of 4.06 years. Any future changes in estimated forfeitures will impact this amount.


8

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

Earnings Per Share
The following tables present a reconciliation of the denominators used in the computation of basic and diluted earnings per share and a summary of the options to purchase shares of common stock which were excluded from the diluted earnings calculation because they were anti-dilutive:
 
 
Three-month Period
Reconciliation
2014
 
2013
Basic weighted average shares outstanding
296,641,994

 
296,643,014

Weighted shares assumed upon exercise of stock options
853,176

 
1,008,946

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding
297,495,170

 
297,651,960

 
 
Three-month Period
Summary of Anti-dilutive Options Excluded
2014
 
2013
Options to purchase shares of common stock
1,292,528

 
1,168,083

Weighted average exercise prices of options
$54.00
 
$54.00
Any dilutive impact summarized above relates to periods when the average market price of our stock exceeded the exercise price of the potentially dilutive option securities then outstanding.
 
(4) Income Taxes
Fastenal, or one of its subsidiaries, files income tax returns in the United States federal jurisdiction, numerous states, and various local and foreign jurisdictions. With limited exceptions, we are no longer subject to income tax examinations by taxing authorities for taxable years before 2010 in the case of United States federal and non-United States examinations and 2009 in the case of state and local examinations.
As of March 31, 2014 and 2013, the Company had $3,916 and $7,661, respectively, of liabilities recorded related to gross unrecognized tax benefits. Included in this liability for unrecognized tax benefits is an immaterial amount for interest and penalties, both of which we classify as a component of income tax expense. The Company does not anticipate its total unrecognized tax benefits will change significantly during the next 12 months.

(5) Operating Leases
We lease certain pick-up trucks under operating leases. These leases have a non-cancellable lease term of one year, with renewal options for up to 72 months. The pick-up truck leases include an early buy out clause we generally exercise, thereby giving the leases an effective term of 28-36 months. Certain operating leases for vehicles contain residual value guarantee provisions which would become due at the expiration of the operating lease agreement if the fair value of the leased vehicles is less than the guaranteed residual value. The aggregate residual value guarantee related to these leases is approximately $52,826. We believe the likelihood of funding the guarantee obligation under any provision of the operating lease agreements is remote, except for a $28 loss on disposal reserve provided at March 31, 2014. Our fleet also contains vehicles we estimate will settle at a gain. Gains on these vehicles will be recognized when we sell or dispose of the vehicle or at the end of the lease term.




9

FASTENAL COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(Amounts in thousands except share and per share information and where otherwise noted)
March 31, 2014 and 2013
(Unaudited)

(6) Contingencies
As of March 31, 2014 there were no litigation matters that we consider to be probable or reasonably possible to have a material adverse outcome.

(7) Subsequent Events
We evaluated all subsequent event activity and concluded that no subsequent events have occurred that would require recognition in the financial statements or disclosure in the notes to the financial statements, with the exception of the dividend disclosed in Note (3) 'Stockholders' Equity' and an increase in the total amount of our credit facility with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, described in Note (10) 'Commitments and Contingencies' to our 2013 annual report on Form 10-K. The facility was amended on April 15, 2014 to increase the revolving credit commitment of the Lenders from $125 million to $170 million, with the letter of credit subfacility unchanged at $40 million, and to modify one of the financial covenants contained in the facility.


10


ITEM 2 — MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following is management’s discussion and analysis of certain significant factors which have affected our financial position and operating results during the periods included in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. (Dollar amounts are stated in thousands except for per share amounts and where otherwise noted.)
BUSINESS DISCUSSION
Fastenal is a North American leader in the wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies. We distribute these supplies through a network of approximately 2,700 company owned stores. Most of our customers are in the manufacturing and non-residential construction markets. The manufacturing market includes both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and maintenance and repair operations (MRO). The non-residential construction market includes general, electrical, plumbing, sheet metal, and road contractors. Other users of our product include farmers, ranchers, truckers, railroads, mining companies, federal, state, and local governmental entities, schools, and certain retail trades. Geographically, our stores and customers are primarily located in North America.
Similar to previous quarters, we have included comments regarding several aspects of our business:
1.
Monthly sales changes, sequential trends, and end market performance – a recap of our recent sales trends and some insight into the activities with different end markets.
2.
Growth drivers of our business – a recap of how we grow our business.
3.
Profit drivers of our business – a recap of how we increase our profits.
4.
Statement of earnings information – a recap of the components of our income statement.
5.
Operational working capital, balance sheet, and cash flow – a recap of the operational working capital utilized in our business, and the related cash flow.
While reading these items, it is helpful to appreciate several aspects of our marketplace: (1) it's big, the North American marketplace for industrial supplies is estimated to be in excess of $160 billion per year (and we have expanded beyond North America), (2) no company has a significant portion of this market, (3) many of the products we sell are individually inexpensive, (4) when our customer needs something quickly or unexpectedly our local store is a quick source, (5) the cost and time to manage and procure these products is meaningful, (6) the cost to move these products, many of which are bulky, can be significant, (7) many customers would prefer to reduce their number of suppliers to simplify their business, and (8) many customers would prefer to utilize various technologies to improve availability and reduce waste.
Our motto is Growth through Customer Service®. This is important given the points noted above. We believe in efficient markets – to us, this means we can grow our market share if we provide the greatest value to the customer. We believe our ability to grow is amplified if we can service our customer at the closest economic point of contact. For us, this 'closest economic point of contact' is the local store; therefore, our focus centers on understanding our customers' day, their opportunities, and their obstacles. 
The concept of growth is simple, find more customers every day and increase your activity with them. However, execution is hard work. First, we recruit service minded individuals to support our customers and their business. Second, we operate in a decentralized fashion to help identify the greatest value for our customers. Third, we build a great machine behind the store to operate efficiently and to help identify new business solutions. Fourth, we do these things every day. Finally, we strive to generate strong profits; these profits produce the cash flow necessary to fund the growth and to support the needs of our customers.



11


SALES GROWTH
Net sales and growth rates in net sales were as follows:
 
Three-month period
 
2014
 
2013
Net sales
$
876,501

 
806,326

Percentage change
8.7
%
 
4.9
%
The increase in net sales in the first three months of 2014 and 2013 came primarily from higher unit sales. Our growth in net sales was impacted by slight inflationary price changes in our non-fastener products and some price deflation in our fastener products, but the net impact was a drag on growth. Our growth in net sales was not meaningfully impacted by the introduction of new products or services, with one exception. Over the last several years, our FAST Solutions® (industrial vending) initiative has stimulated faster growth with a subset of our customers (discussed later in this document). The higher unit sales resulted primarily from increases in sales at older store locations (discussed below and again later in this document) and to a lesser degree the opening of new store locations in the last several years. The growth in net sales at the older store locations was due to the growth drivers of our business (discussed later in this document), and, in the case of 2012, the moderating impacts of the recessionary environment. The change in currencies in foreign countries (primarily Canada) relative to the United States dollar lowered our daily sales growth rate by 0.6% and 0.1% in the first three months of 2014 and 2013, respectively.
The stores opened greater than two years represent a consistent ‘same store’ view of our business (store sites opened as follows: 2014 group – opened 2012 and earlier, and 2013 group – opened 2011 and earlier). However, the impact of the economy is best reflected in the growth performance of our stores opened greater than five years (store sites opened as follows: 2014 group – opened 2009 and earlier, and 2013 group – opened 2008 and earlier) and opened greater than ten years (store sites opened as follows: 2014 group – opened 2004 and earlier, and 2013 group – opened 2003 and earlier). These two groups of stores are more cyclical due to the increased market share they enjoy in their local markets. The daily sales change for each of these groups was as follows:
 
 
Three-month Period
 
2014
 
2013
Store Age
 
 
 
Opened greater than 2 years
7.4
%
 
4.8
%
Opened greater than 5 years
6.6
%
 
3.6
%
Opened greater than 10 years
5.7
%
 
1.9
%
Note: The age groups above are measured as of the last day of each respective calendar year.

SALES BY PRODUCT LINE:
The mix of sales from the original fastener product line and from the other product lines was as follows:
 
Three-month Period
 
2014
 
2013
Fastener product line
40.2
%
 
43.0
%
Other product lines
59.8
%
 
57.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%





12


MONTHLY SALES CHANGES, SEQUENTIAL TRENDS, AND END MARKET PERFORMANCE
Note – Daily sales are defined as the total net sales for the period divided by the number of business days (in the United States) in the period. 
This section focuses on three distinct views of our business – monthly sales changes, sequential trends, and end market performance. The first discussion regarding monthly sales changes provides a good mechanical view of our business based on the age of our stores. The second discussion provides a framework for understanding the sequential trends (that is, comparing a month to the immediately preceding month) in our business. Finally, we believe the third discussion regarding end market performance provides insight into activities with our various types of customers.
Monthly Sales Changes:
All company sales – During the months in 2014, 2013, and 2012, all of our selling locations, when combined, had daily sales growth rates of (compared to the same month in the preceding year):
 
Jan.
 
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July
 
Aug.
 
Sept.
 
Oct.
 
Nov.
 
Dec.
2014
6.7
%
 
7.7
%
 
11.6
%
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


2013
6.7
%
 
8.2
%
 
5.1
%
 
4.8
%
 
5.3
%
 
6.0
%
 
2.9
%
 
7.2
%
 
5.7
%
 
7.7
%
 
8.2
%
 
6.7
%
2012
21.3
%
 
20.0
%
 
19.3
%
 
17.3
%
 
13.1
%
 
14.0
%
 
12.1
%
 
12.0
%
 
12.9
%
 
6.8
%
 
8.2
%
 
9.7
%
Stores opened greater than two years – Our stores opened greater than two years (store sites opened as follows: 2014 group – opened 2012 and earlier, 2013 group – opened 2011 and earlier, and 2012 group – opened 2010 and earlier) represent a consistent 'same-store' view of our business. During the months in 2014, 2013, and 2012, the stores opened greater than two years had daily sales growth rates of (compared to the same month in the preceding year):
 
Jan.
 
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July
 
Aug.
 
Sept.
 
Oct.
 
Nov.
 
Dec.
2014
5.5
%
 
6.5
%
 
10.2
%
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


2013
5.0
%
 
6.5
%
 
3.4
%
 
3.1
%
 
3.5
%
 
4.3
%
 
1.4
%
 
5.5
%
 
4.2
%
 
6.1
%
 
6.2
%
 
4.9
%
2012
18.8
%
 
17.1
%
 
16.8
%
 
14.5
%
 
10.1
%
 
11.1
%
 
9.1
%
 
8.6
%
 
9.8
%
 
3.8
%
 
5.1
%
 
6.6
%
Stores opened greater than five years – The impact of the economy, over time, is best reflected in the growth performance of our stores opened greater than five years (store sites opened as follows: 2014 group – opened 2009 and earlier, 2013 group – opened 2008 and earlier, and 2012 group – opened 2007 and earlier). This group, which represented about 90% of our total sales in the first three months of 2014, is more cyclical due to the increased market share they enjoy in their local markets. During the months in 2014, 2013, and 2012, the stores opened greater than five years had daily sales growth rates of (compared to the same month in the preceding year):
 
Jan.
 
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July
 
Aug.
 
Sept.
 
Oct.
 
Nov.
 
Dec.
2014
4.6
%
 
5.4
%
 
9.5
%
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


2013
3.2
%
 
5.6
%
 
2.3
%
 
2.0
%
 
2.7
%
 
3.4
%
 
0.6
%
 
4.7
%
 
3.2
%
 
5.3
%
 
6.1
%
 
4.8
%
2012
17.4
%
 
15.8
%
 
15.7
%
 
13.7
%
 
9.0
%
 
10.2
%
 
8.3
%
 
7.9
%
 
8.5
%
 
2.6
%
 
4.6
%
 
5.6
%
Summarizing comments – There are three distinct influences to our growth: (1) execution, (2) currency fluctuations, and (3) economic fluctuations. This discussion centers on (2) and (3).
The change in currencies in foreign countries (primarily Canada) relative to the United States dollar impacted our growth over the last several years. During 2012 it lowered our growth by 0.1%, in 2013 it lowered our growth by 0.2%, and in the first quarter of 2014 it lowered our growth by 0.6%.
Regarding economic fluctuations, in 2011 we enjoyed strong growth. This reflected the strengthening economic environment being experienced by our customers. While the strength did not apply to all customers and to all geographies we serve, it was strong enough to produce acceptable results. During 2012, the growth in the first three and a half months generally continued the relative strength we saw in 2011. Then we began to experience several distinct economic slowdowns. The first occurred in the late April/May time frame, and then moderated until September 2012. The second occurred in the October/November time frame. This was exaggerated by the impact of Hurricane Sandy and an unusual business day comparison in October (23 days in 2012 versus 21 days in 2011 - the maintenance portion of our business is often linked to monthly spend patterns of our customers, which are not as business day dependent, this can dilute the daily growth picture given the change in business day divisor). The third occurred in the spring of 2013. This involved our fastener product line and our construction business (primarily non-residential construction). This third slowdown, similar to the first two listed, mirrored or slightly led some softening in the PMI index (discussed later in this document). The fastener piece was heavily impacted by our industrial

13


production business. These customers utilize our fasteners in the manufacture/assembly of their finished products. The end markets with the most pronounced weakening included heavy machinery manufacturers with exposure to: mining, military, agriculture, and construction. The construction piece in 2013 was also hampered by poor weather during the winter and spring time frame throughout many areas in North America. The fourth and fifth occurred in July 2013 and December 2013. The daily sales growth in July 2013 and December 2013 were negatively impacted by the timing of the July 4th holiday (Thursday in 2013, Wednesday in 2012, Monday in 2011) and the Christmas/New Year holiday (Wednesday in 2013, Tuesday in 2012, and Sunday in 2011). This resulted in a 'lone' business day on Friday, July 5, 2013, in which many of our customers were closed, and three distinct one to two day work periods in the last two weeks of December 2013. The December impact was amplified due to poor weather conditions.
Our daily sales growth trends have improved since September 2013. This was largely related to changing comparisons to 2012. Our sales to customers engaged in light and medium duty manufacturing (largely related to consumer products) are improving; this makes sense given the trends in the PMI index. However, our sales to customers engaged in heavy machinery manufacturing (primarily serving the mining, military, agricultural, and construction end markets), which represents approximately one fifth of our business, continued to experience weak performance in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.
In 2014, our sales growth was hampered in January and February due to a weak economy and foreign exchange rate fluctuations (primarily related to the Canadian dollar); however, the biggest impact was a severe winter in North America and its negative impact on our customers and our trucking network. In March 2014, the weak economy and negative foreign exchange rate fluctuations continued; however, the weather normalized and our daily sales growth expanded to 11.6%. This double digit growth was helped by the Easter timing (April in 2014), but the real story is good people, good execution, and minimal negative weather impacts.
Sequential Trends:
We find it helpful to think about the monthly sequential changes in our business using the analogy of climbing a stairway – This stairway has several predictable landings where there is a pause in the sequential gain (i.e. April, July, and October to December), but generally speaking, climbs from January to October. The October landing then establishes the benchmark for the start of the next year.
History has identified these landings in our business cycle. They generally relate to months with impaired business days (certain holidays). The first landing centers on Easter, which alternates between March and April (Easter occurs in April in 2014, occurred in March in 2013, and occurred in April in 2012), the second landing centers on July 4th, and the third landing centers on the approach of winter with its seasonal impact on primarily our construction business and with the Christmas/New Year holiday. The holidays we noted impact the trends because they either move from month-to-month or because they move around during the week (the July 4th and Christmas/New Year holiday impacts noted earlier in this document are examples).
The table below shows the pattern to the sequential change in our daily sales. The line labeled 'Benchmark' is an historical average of our sequential daily sales change for the period 1998 to 2013, excluding 2008 and 2009. We believe this time frame will serve to show the historical pattern and could serve as a benchmark for current performance. We excluded the 2008 to 2009 time frame because it contains an extreme economic event and we don't believe it is comparable. The '2014', '2013', and '2012' lines represent our actual sequential daily sales changes. The '14Delta', '13Delta', and '12Delta' lines indicate the difference between the 'Benchmark' and the actual results in the respective year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cumulative
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Change from
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jan. to
 
Jan. 1
 
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July
 
Aug.
 
Sept.
 
Oct.
 
Mar.
 
Oct.
Benchmark
0.8
 %
 
2.2
 %
 
3.8
 %
 
0.4
 %
 
3.1
 %
 
2.7
 %
 
-2.1
 %
 
2.5
 %
 
3.7
 %
 
-1.2
 %
 
6.0
 %
 
15.9
 %
2014
-1.4
 %
 
3.0
 %
 
7.1
 %
 


 


 

 

 

 

 
 
 
10.3
 %
 
 
14Delta
-2.2
 %
 
0.8
 %
 
3.3
 %
 


 


 

 

 

 

 
 
 
4.3
 %
 
 
2013
-0.4
 %
 
2.0
 %
 
3.4
 %
 
-1.1
 %
 
1.0
 %
 
3.2
 %
 
-5.5
 %
 
5.5
 %
 
2.9
 %
 
-2.9
 %
 
5.4
 %
 
8.2
 %
13Delta
-1.2
 %
 
-0.2
 %
 
-0.4
 %
 
-1.5
 %
 
-2.1
 %
 
0.5
 %
 
-3.4
 %
 
3.0
 %
 
-0.8
 %
 
-1.7
 %
 
-0.6
 %
 
-7.7
 %
2012
-0.3
 %
 
0.5
 %
 
6.4
 %
 
-0.8
 %
 
0.5
 %
 
2.5
 %
 
-2.7
 %
 
1.3
 %
 
4.3
 %
 
-4.8
 %
 
7.0
 %
 
7.1
 %
12Delta
-1.1
 %
 
-1.7
 %
 
2.6
 %
 
-1.2
 %
 
-2.6
 %
 
-0.2
 %
 
-0.6
 %
 
-1.2
 %
 
0.6
 %
 
-3.6
 %
 
1.0
 %
 
-8.8
 %
(1)
The January figures represent the percentage change from the previous October, whereas the remaining figures represent the percentage change from the previous month.

14


A graph of the sequential daily sales change pattern discussed above, starting with a base of '100' in the previous October and ending with the next October, would be as follows:
End Market Performance:
We ended the first quarter of 2014 with a strong March. To highlight this strength, we included the March 2014 daily sales growth rate in the tables below.
Fluctuations in end market business – The sequential trends noted above were directly linked to fluctuations in our end markets. To place this in perspective – approximately 50% of our business has historically been with customers engaged in some type of manufacturing. The daily sales to these customers grew, when compared to the same period in the prior year, as follows:
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
2014
(March = 11.4%)
 
9.0
%
 

 

 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
7.0
%
 
5.9
%
 
4.7
%
 
7.2
%
 
6.3
%
2012
 
 
20.3
%
 
15.8
%
 
14.0
%
 
9.7
%
 
14.9
%
Our manufacturing business consists of two subsets: the industrial production business (this is business where we supply products that become part of the finished goods produced by our customers and is sometimes referred to as OEM - original equipment manufacturing) and the maintenance portion (this is business where we supply products that maintain the facility or the equipment of our customers engaged in manufacturing). The industrial business is more fastener centered, while the maintenance portion is represented by all product categories. 
The best way to understand the change in our industrial production business is to examine the results in our fastener product line.  From a company perspective, sales of fasteners grew, when compared to the same period in the prior year, as follows (note: this information includes all end markets):
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
2014
(March = 5.3%)
 
1.6
%
 

 

 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
1.7
%
 
1.9
%
 
1.0
%
 
1.9
%
 
1.6
%
2012
 
 
15.4
%
 
8.0
%
 
6.0
%
 
2.6
%
 
7.8
%

15


By contrast, the best way to understand the change in the maintenance portion of the manufacturing business is to examine the results in our non-fastener product lines.  From a company perspective, sales of non-fasteners grew, when compared to the same period in the prior year, as follows (note: this information includes all end markets):
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
2014
(March = 16.5%)
 
14.2
%
 

 

 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
10.8
%
 
8.5
%
 
8.9
%
 
12.0
%
 
10.1
%
2012
 
 
25.1
%
 
21.1
%
 
18.0
%
 
13.6
%
 
19.2
%
The non-fastener business demonstrated greater relative resilience when compared to our fastener business and to the distribution industry in general, due to our strong FAST Solutions® (industrial vending) program; this is discussed in greater detail later in this document. However, this business has not been immune to the impact of a weak industrial environment.
The patterns related to the industrial production business, as noted above, are influenced by the movements noted in the Purchasing Manufacturers Index ('PMI') published by the Institute for Supply Management (http://www.ism.ws/), which is a composite index of economic activity in the United States manufacturing sector. The PMI in 2014, 2013, and 2012 was as follows:
 
Jan.
 
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July
 
Aug.
 
Sept.
 
Oct.
 
Nov.
 
Dec.
2014
51.3

 
53.2

 
53.7

 


 


 


 


 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
52.3

 
53.1

 
51.5

 
50.0

 
50.0

 
52.5

 
54.9

 
56.3

 
56.0

 
56.6

 
57.0

 
56.5

2012
52.8

 
52.4

 
53.0

 
53.7

 
53.2

 
51.0

 
50.6

 
51.1

 
52.2

 
51.2

 
49.5

 
50.4


For background to readers not familiar with the PMI index, it is a monthly indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector in the United States. Five major indicators that influence the PMI index are new orders, inventory levels, productions, supplier deliveries, and the employment environment. When a PMI of 50 or higher is reported, this indicates expansion in the manufacturing industry compared to the previous month. If the PMI is below 50, this represents a contraction in the manufacturing sector. The PMI is not perfectly correlated with our business, as it reflects the activity of certain categories of manufacturers (such as those engaged in light and medium manufacturing) who historically have not accounted for a significant portion of our sales. (Note – the Institute for Supply Management made annual adjustments to reflect seasonal factors for the PMI index effective for the January 2014 report. This table represents the updated PMI index.)
Our non-residential construction customers have historically represented 20% to 25% of our business. The daily sales to these customers grew when compared to the same period in the prior year, as follows:
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
2014
(March = 7.6%)
 
2.9
%
 


 

 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
2.9
%
 
0.7
%
 
3.9
%
 
2.8
%
 
2.5
%
2012
 
 
17.1
%
 
12.7
%
 
8.2
%
 
4.2
%
 
10.3
%
We believe the weakness in the economy in the fourth quarter of 2012, throughout 2013, and during early 2014, particularly in the non-residential construction market, was amplified by the global economic uncertainty combined with the economic policy uncertainty in the United States. This weakness was amplified by severe winter weather conditions in January and February 2014.

16


A graph of the sequential daily sales trends to these two end markets in 2014, 2013, and 2012, starting with a base of '100' in the previous October and ending with the next October, would be as follows: 

Manufacturing


Non-Residential Construction


17


GROWTH DRIVERS OF OUR BUSINESS
We grow by continuously adding customers and by increasing the activity with each customer. We believe this growth is enhanced by our close proximity to our customers, which allows us to provide a range of services and product availability that our competitors can't easily match. Historically, we expanded our reach by opening stores at a very fast pace. These openings were initially in the United States, but expanded beyond the United States beginning in the mid 1990's. 
For a little perspective, we began our business in 1967 with an idea to sell nuts and bolts (fasteners) through vending machines. We soon learned the technology of the 1960's wasn't ready, and also learned a lot of products didn't fit, so we went to 'Plan B'; sell to business users with a direct sales force. It took us a number of years to 'work out the bugs', but ten years later we began to pick up the pace of store openings. After another ten years of expansion we had approximately 50 stores and sales of about $20 million. Our need for cash was growing, as was our desire to allow employee ownership. This led us to a public offering in 1987.
In our first ten years of being public (1987 to 1997), we opened stores at an annual rate approaching 30%.  In the next ten years (1997 to 2007), we opened stores at an annual rate of approximately 10% to 15% and, since 2007, at an annual rate of approximately 2% to 8% (we opened 9 stores in the first three months of 2014, or approximately 0.3%, and currently expect to open approximately 50 to 70 stores, or an annual rate of approximately 1.9% to 2.6%, in 2014). 
As we gained proximity to more customers, we continued to diversify our growth drivers. This was done to provide existing store personnel with more tools to grow their business organically, and the results of this are reflected in our earlier discussion on sales growth at stores opened greater than five years. In the early 1990's, we began to expand our product lines, and we added new product knowledge to our bench (the non-fastener products now represent over 50% of our sales). This was our first big effort to diversify our growth drivers. The next step began in the mid to late 1990's when we began to add sales personnel with certain specialties or focus. This began with our National Accounts group in 1995, and, over time, has expanded to include individuals dedicated to: (1) sales related to our internal manufacturing division, (2) government sales, (3) internet sales, (4) specific products (most recently metalworking), and (5) FAST Solutions® (industrial vending).  Another step occurred at our sales locations (this includes Fastenal stores as well as strategic account stores and in-plant locations) and at our distribution centers, and began with a targeted merchandising and inventory placement strategy that included our 'Customer Service Project' approximately ten years ago and our 'Master Stocking Hub' initiative approximately five years ago. These strategies allowed us to better target where to stock certain products (local store, regional distribution center, master stocking hub, or supplier) and allowed us to improve our fulfillment, lower our freight costs, and improve our ability to serve a broader range of customers. During 2013 and 2014, we expanded our store based inventory offering around select industries (with an emphasis on fasteners, construction products, and safety products) and beginning in the latter half of 2013 we expanded two key employee groups: (1) the number of employees working in our stores and (2) the number of district and regional leaders supporting our stores. The theme that shines through in all these changes, particularly the last several, is a simple one – invest into and support our sales machine – the local store.
Over the last several years our FAST Solutions® (industrial vending) operation has been a rapidly expanding component of our business. We believe industrial vending will be an important chapter in the Fastenal story; we also believe it has the potential to be transformative to industrial distribution, and that we have a 'first mover' advantage. Given this, we have been investing aggressively to maximize the advantage.
At the beginning, our industrial vending business had a limited fleet of vending devices. This fleet primarily consisted of the following: (1) the FAST 5000 (a helix/coil device with target monthly revenue of $2,000), (2) a 12-door locker device, and (3) a 3-door locker device. Given the infancy of the business, and our desire for simplicity in reporting, we have communicated our ‘machine equivalent’ numbers over the last several years using the FAST 5000, with its $2,000 monthly revenue target, as the benchmark for ‘one machine’. However, given our expectation for lower potential revenue in the 12-door and 3-door lockers, we have historically counted them as a ‘half machine’.

18


Under this method of disclosure, the reported number of vending machines in contracts signed during the period and the number of machines installed at quarter end were as follows:

 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
'Machine equivalent' count signed during the period
2014
 
3,602

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  (locker equals half a machine)
2013
 
5,728

 
5,357

 
4,372

 
3,848
 
19,305

 
2012
 
4,568

 
4,669

 
5,334

 
5,591

 
20,162

 
2011
 
1,405

 
2,107

 
2,246

 
2,084

 
7,842


 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
 
'Machine equivalent' installed at the end of the period
2014
 
35,310

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  (locker equals half a machine)
2013
 
25,447

 
29,549

 
32,248

 
33,920

 
 
 
2012
 
9,798

 
13,036

 
17,013

 
21,095

 
 
 
2011
 
2,659

 
3,867

 
5,642

 
7,453

 
 
Today, our expanded fleet consists of thirteen different vending devices. We have learned much about these devices over the last several years and currently have target monthly revenue ranging from under $1,000 to in excess of $3,000 per device. During the final two quarters of 2013 we indicated our intention to refine the reporting of machine equivalencies in 2014 to better reflect the equivalencies based on the ‘target revenue potential’ of each device. The following two tables, new this quarter, are an attempt to provide this disclosure. They include two views of our data: (1) actual device count regardless of the type of machine and (2) ‘equivalent machine count’ based on the weighted target monthly revenue of each device (compared to the FAST 5000 device). For example, the 12-door locker, with target monthly revenue of $750, would be counted as ‘0.375 machine equivalent’ (0.375 = $750/$2,000).
Using this method, the industrial vending information related to contracts signed during each period was as follows:
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
Annual
Device count signed during the period
2014
 
4,025

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
6,568

 
6,084

 
4,836

 
4,226

 
21,714

 
2012
 
6,646

 
6,818

 
7,871

 
6,715

 
28,050

 
2011
 
1,812

 
2,710

 
2,930

 
2,753

 
10,205

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
'Machine equivalent' count signed during the period
2014
 
2,974

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
4,825

 
4,505

 
3,656

 
3,244

 
16,230

 
2012
 
3,827

 
3,926

 
4,581

 
4,739

 
17,073

 
2011
 
1,264

 
1,915

 
2,035

 
1,880

 
7,094

Using this method, the industrial vending information related to installed machines at the end of each period was as follows:
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
 
Device count installed at the end of the period
2014
 
42,153

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
32,007

 
36,452

 
39,180

 
40,775

 
 
 
2012
 
12,600

 
16,964

 
21,998

 
26,975

 
 
 
2011
 
3,227

 
4,793

 
7,062

 
9,462

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
'Machine equivalent' count installed at the end of the
2014
 
30,326

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    period
2013
 
22,020

 
25,512

 
27,818

 
29,262

 
 
 
2012
 
8,842

 
11,604

 
14,880

 
18,395

 
 
 
2011
 
2,462

 
3,548

 
5,154

 
6,771

 
 

19


The following table includes some additional statistics regarding our sales and sales growth:
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
 
Percent of total net sales to customers with
2014
 
37.8
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  industrial vending1
2013
 
27.5
%
 
30.0
%
 
33.3
%
 
36.6
%
 
 
 
2012
 
17.8
%
 
20.8
%
 
23.2
%
 
25.8
%
 
 
 
2011
 
8.9
%
 
10.5
%
 
13.1
%
 
15.7
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Q1
 
Q2
 
Q3
 
Q4
 
 
Daily sales growth to customers with
2014
 
19.7
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  industrial vending2
2013
 
23.9
%
 
18.9
%
 
15.2
%
 
18.7
%
 
 
 
2012
 
33.9
%
 
34.3
%
 
32.9
%
 
28.6
%
 
 
 
2011
 
50.6
%
 
43.9
%
 
42.5
%
 
40.7
%
 
 
1 The percentage of total sales (vended and traditional) to customers currently using a vending solution.
2 The growth in total sales (vended and traditional) to customers currently using a vending solution compared to the same period in the preceding year.
In addition to the industrial vending operation noted above, which primarily relates to our non-fastener business, we also provide bin stock programs (also known as ‘keep fill’ programs in the industry) to numerous customers. This business, which relates to both our maintenance customers (MRO fasteners and non-fasteners) and original equipment manufacturers (OEM fasteners), has many similar attributes to our industrial vending relationships. These attributes include a strong relationship, where we are often their preferred supplier, and also includes a frequent level of business transactions. This business is performed without the aid of a vending machine, but does make use of the latest scanning technologies, scales systems, and our fully integrated distribution network to manage the supply chain for all sizes of customers. In recent years, we have begun to refer to this business using terms such as FMI (Fastenal Managed Inventory).

20


PROFIT DRIVERS OF OUR BUSINESS
As we state several times in this document, profit is important to us. For a distribution business it is linked to cash flow, and cash flow funds our growth and creates value for our customers, our employees, our suppliers, and our shareholders. We grow our profits by continuously working to grow sales and to improve our relative profitability. We also grow our profits by allowing our inherent profitability to shine through – we refer to this as the 'pathway to profit'. The distinction is important. 
We achieve improvements in our relative profitability by increasing our gross margin, by structurally lowering our operating expenses, or both. We advance on the 'pathway to profit' by increasing the average store size (measured in terms of monthly sales), and by allowing the changing store mix to improve our profits. This is best explained by comparing the varying profitability of our 'traditional' stores in the table below. The average store size for the group, and the average age, number of stores, and pre-tax earnings data by store size for the first quarter of 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively, were as follows:
Sales per Month
Average
Age
(Years)
 
Number of
Stores
 
Percentage
of Stores
 
Pre-Tax
Earnings
Percentage
Three months ended March 31, 2014
 
 
Average store sales = $94,627
 
$0 to $30,000
6.1

 
176

 
6.6
%
 
-13.2
 %
$30,001 to $60,000
8.6

 
726

 
27.1
%
 
10.8
 %
$60,001 to $100,000
11.5

 
825

 
30.7
%
 
19.4
 %
$100,001 to $150,000
13.8

 
473

 
17.6
%
 
23.9
 %
Over $150,000
16.3

 
347

 
12.9
%
 
26.3
 %
Strategic Account/Overseas Store
 
 
136

 
5.1
%
 
 

Company Total
 
 
2,683

 
100.0
%
 
20.4
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Three months ended March 31, 2013
 
 
Average store sales = $88,267
 
$0 to $30,000
5.4

 
261

 
9.8
%
 
-11.6
 %
$30,001 to $60,000
8.2

 
771

 
29.0
%
 
13.9
 %
$60,001 to $100,000
10.9

 
765

 
28.8
%
 
22.5
 %
$100,001 to $150,000
12.8

 
437

 
16.4
%
 
25.5
 %
Over $150,000
16.0

 
305

 
11.5
%
 
29.0
 %
Strategic Account/Overseas Store
 

 
121

 
4.5
%
 
 

Company Total
 
 
2,660

 
100.0
%
 
21.7
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Three months ended March 31, 2012
 
 
Average store sales = $86,449
 
$0 to $30,000
4.4

 
289

 
11.1
%
 
-17.4
 %
$30,001 to $60,000
7.6

 
795

 
30.4
%
 
11.9
 %
$60,001 to $100,000
9.9

 
719

 
27.5
%
 
21.5
 %
$100,001 to $150,000
12.5

 
419

 
16.0
%
 
24.9
 %
Over $150,000
15.6

 
287

 
11.0
%
 
28.4
 %
Strategic Account/Overseas Store
 

 
102

 
3.9
%
 
 
Company Total
 
 
2,611

 
100.0
%
 
21.0
 %
Note – Amounts may not foot due to rounding difference.
When we originally announced the 'pathway to profit' strategy in 2007, our goal was to increase our pre-tax earnings, as a percentage of sales, from 18% to 23%. This goal was to be accomplished by slowly moving the mix from the first three categories ($0 to $30,000, $30,001 to $60,000, and $60,001 to $100,000, these groups represented 76.5% of our store base in the first three months of 2007, the last quarter before we announced the 'pathway to profit') to the last three categories ($60,001 to $100,000, $100,001 to $150,000, and over $150,000, these groups represented 61.3% of our store base in the first quarter of 2014) and by increasing the average store sales from $71,600 (in the first three months of 2007) to approximately $125,000 per month. The weak economic environment in 2009 caused our average store size to decrease, and consequently lowered our level of profitability; however, we never lost sight of the simple 'economic math' of our business, and our ability to grow the level of profitability long-term. In the aftermath of 2009, we grew the average store size, we improved our gross margin, and we structurally lowered our operating expenses. The improvement in the latter two allowed us to amplify the 'pathway to profit' and effectively lowered the average store size required to hit our 23% goal. Today we believe we can accomplish our 'pathway to profit' goal with average store sales of approximately $100,000 to $110,000 per month.
Note – Dollar amounts in this section are presented in whole dollars, not thousands.

21


Store Count and Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Headcount – The table below highlights certain impacts on our business of the 'pathway to profit' since its introduction in 2007.  Under the 'pathway to profit' we increased both our store count and our store FTE headcount during 2007 and 2008. However, the rate of increase in store locations slowed and our FTE headcount for all types of personnel was reduced when the economy weakened late in 2008. In the table that follows, we refer to our 'store' net sales, locations, and personnel. When we discuss 'store' net sales, locations, and personnel, we are referring to (1) 'Fastenal' stores and (2) strategic account stores. 'Fastenal' stores are either a 'traditional' store, the typical format in the United States or Canada, or an 'overseas' store, which is the typical format outside the United States and Canada. This is discussed in greater detail in our 2013 annual report on Form 10-K. Strategic account stores are stores that are focused on selling to a group of large customers in a limited geographic market. The sales outside of our 'store' group, relate to either (1) our in-plant locations, (2) the portion of our internally manufactured product that is sold directly to a customer and not through a store (including our Holo-Krome® business acquired in December 2009), or (3) our direct import business. 
The breakdown of our sales, the average monthly sales per store, the number of stores at quarter end, the average headcount at our stores during a quarter, the average FTE headcount during a quarter, and the percentage change were as follows for the first quarter of 2007 (the last completed quarter before we began the 'pathway to profit') and for each of the last five quarters:
 
Q1
2007
 
Q1
2013
 
Q2
2013
 
Q3
2013
 
Q4
2013
 
Q1
2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total net sales reported
$489,157
 
$806,326
 
$847,596
 
$858,424
 
$813,760
 
$876,501
Less: Non-store sales (approximate)
40,891
 
101,624
 
109,300
 
108,427
 
105,499
 
113,945
Store net sales (approximate)
$448,266
 
$704,702
 
$738,296
 
$749,997
 
$708,261
 
$762,556
% change since Q1 2007
 
 
57.2
 %
 
64.7
 %
 
67.3
%
 
58.0
%
 
70.1
%
% change (twelve months)
 
 
4.2
 %
 
4.6
 %
 
6.8
%
 
7.1
%
 
8.2
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percentage of sales through a store
92
%
 
87
 %
 
87
 %
 
87
%
 
87
%
 
87
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average monthly sales per store
$72
 
$88
 
$92
 
$93
 
$88
 
$95
  (using ending store count)
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

% change since Q1 2007
 

 
22.2
 %
 
27.8
 %
 
29.2
%
 
22.2
%
 
31.9
%
% change (twelve months)
 

 
2.3
 %
 
3.4
 %
 
5.7
%
 
6.0
%
 
8.0
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Company pre-tax earnings
18.1
%
 
21.7
 %
 
22.7
 %
 
22.0
%
 
19.3
%
 
20.4
%

22


 
Q1
2007
 
Q1
2013
 
Q2
2013
 
Q3
2013
 
Q4
2013