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Fastenal Company Reports 2013 Fourth Quarter And Annual Earnings

WINONA, Minn., Jan. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fastenal Company of Winona, MN (Nasdaq:FAST) reported the results of the quarter and year ended December 31, 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 December 31:
  Twelve-month Period Three-month Period
  2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Net sales  $ 3,326,106 3,133,577 6.1%  $ 813,760 757,235 7.5%
Business days 254 254   63 63  
Daily sales 13,095 12,337 6.1% 12,917 12,020 7.5%
Pre-tax earnings  $ 713,468 674,155 5.8%  $ 157,274 158,151 -0.6%
% of sales 21.5% 21.5%   19.3% 20.9%  
Net earnings  $ 448,636 420,536 6.7%  $ 99,229 98,716 0.5%
Net earnings per share (basic)  $ 1.51 1.42 6.3%  $ 0.33 0.33 0.0%
Set forth below is certain information as of December 31:        
        2013 2012 Change
Number of stores       2,687 2,652 1.3%
FAST Solutions® (industrial vending) machines (equivalent basis - defined later in document) 33,920 21,095 60.8%
Employee count       17,277 15,145 14.1%


In December 2013 we issued a press release intended to provide an update on the fourth quarter of 2013. This is only the second time, in our 26 years of being a public company, we have taken this step. Our goal is to keep this type of communication very rare. We took this step because our December sales trends were weak, but, more importantly, because our gross margin trends were deteriorating. In the days following our release, our sales and gross margin trends continued to weaken. This weakening was worse than we expected and this created additional drain on our ability to grow earnings. We did grow our net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2013, but we are disappointed our net earnings per share did not grow.

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