The Winona company raised profits 19 percent, aided by new stores and more factory-floor vending machines.
Winona-based Fastenal Co. reported a 19 percent jump in second-quarter earnings Thursday with help from new store openings and the installation of new industrial vending machines.
Still, officials acknowledged that manufacturing and construction customers were facing "slow" and "weaker" markets, which slightly affected sales growth.
Fastenal's net income rose 19.3 percent to $112.3 million or 38 cents a share. While earnings results beat analysts' average estimates by a penny, sales missed expectations. Second-quarter sales rose nearly 15 percent to $804.9 million. Analysts expected $807 million.
Investors responded by sending Fastenal's stock up by 6.3 percent, or $2.50 a share, to close at $42.31.
In a conference call with analysts Thursday, CEO Willard Oberton said that he was "very happy" with second-quarter results, especially since both manufacturing and construction have slowed. "On a very positive note," he said, "we haven't seen a lot of panic from our customers, so ... that gives us some optimism for the next several months."
Oberton added that it's been difficult to compare construction sales with prior years because of an unusually warm spring and hot summer. Still, "it appears to be somewhat weaker than it was, but there is still a lot of business and a lot of opportunity out there," he told analysts.
Going forward, there is still work to be done to improve product margins, Oberton said. Growth occurred via other means.
During the first six months of 2012, Fastenal opened 53 new stores compared with 75 for the same period a year ago. As of June 30, it had 2,635 stores across the country that sell nuts, bolts and other hardware, construction and industrial supplies.
Dee DePass 612-673-7725
Figures in millions except for earnings per share.