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Fastenal Company Reports 2012 Third Quarter Earnings

The table below shows the pattern to our sequential change in our daily sales. The line labeled 'Past' is an historical average of our sequential daily sales change for the period 1998 to 2003. We chose this time frame because it had similar characteristics, a weaker industrial economy in North America, and could serve as a benchmark for a possible trend line. The '2012', '2011', and '2010' lines represent our actual sequential daily sales changes. The '12Delta', '11Delta', and '10Delta' lines indicate the difference between the 'Past' and the actual results in the respective year. 

  Jan.(1) Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Cumulative change from Jan. to Sept.
Past 0.9% 3.3% 2.9% -0.3% 3.4% 2.8% -2.3% 2.6% 2.6% -0.7% 15.9%
2012 -0.3% 0.5% 6.4% -0.8% 0.5% 2.5% -2.7% 1.3% 4.3%   12.5%
12Delta -1.2% -2.8% 3.5% -0.5% -2.9% -0.3% -0.4% -1.3% 1.7%   -3.4%
2011 -0.2% 1.6% 7.0% 0.9% 4.3% 1.7% -1.0% 1.4% 3.4% 0.7% 20.8%
11Delta -1.1% -1.7% 4.1% 1.2% 0.9% -1.1% 1.3% -1.2% 0.8% 1.4% 4.9%
2010 2.9% -0.7% 5.9% 0.6% 4.8% 1.7% -1.0% 3.5% 4.5% -1.5% 20.8%
10Delta 2.0% -4.0% 3.0% 0.9% 1.4% -1.1% 1.3% 0.9% 1.9% -0.8% 4.9%
(1)  The January figures represent the percentage change from the previous October, whereas the remaining figures represent the percentage change from the previous month.

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:

Several observations stand out while viewing the 2012 sequential pattern: (1) The direction of the historical sequential pattern (increased daily sales on a sequential basis in February, March, May, June, August, and September and decreased daily sales on a sequential basis in April and July) has played out each month; however, the cumulative growth in the daily sales from January to September has fallen short of the benchmark figure and of the actual results in 2011 and 2010. (2) The magnitude of the February and May '12Delta' of approximately -2.8% was similar. This fact, as well as the choppiness of the year in general, has caused us to approach the year with a conservative tone. (3) The weakness in the first eight months of 2012 was amplified by changes in foreign currencies (primarily Canada) relative to the U.S. dollar.

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