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Fastenal Company Reports 2013 Third Quarter Earnings

WINONA, Minn., Oct. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fastenal Company of Winona, MN (Nasdaq:FAST) reported the results of the quarter ended September 30, 2013. Except for per share information, or as otherwise noted below, dollar amounts are stated in thousands.

Net sales (and the related daily sales), pre-tax earnings, net earnings, and net earnings per share were as follows for the periods ended September 30:
  Nine-month period Three-month period
  2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Net sales  $ 2,512,346 2,376,342 5.7%  $ 858,424 802,577 7.0%
Business days 191 191   64 63  
Daily sales  $ 13,154 12,442 5.7%  $ 13,413 12,739 5.3%
Pre-tax earnings  $ 556,194 516,004 7.8%  $ 188,643 175,836 7.3%
 % of sales 22.1% 21.7%   22.0% 21.9%  
Net earnings  $ 349,407 321,820 8.6%  $ 119,350 109,320 9.2%
Net earnings per share (basic)  $ 1.18 1.09 8.3%  $ 0.40 0.37 8.1%

On September 30, 2013, we had 2,686 stores. During the first nine months of 2013, we opened 44 new stores, an increase of 1.7% since December 2012 (we increased our store count by 1.4% since September 30, 2012). On September 30, 2013, we operated 32,248 FAST Solutions SM (industrial vending) machines. During the first nine months of 2013, we installed 11,153 new machines, an increase of 52.9% since December 2012 (we increased our machine count by 89.6% since September 30, 2012). On September 30, 2013, we had 16,529 employees, an increase of 9.1% since December 2012 and 7.1% since September 2012.

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 to manage and procure these products can be significant, and (6) the cost to move these products, many of which are bulky, can also be significant.

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