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: http://media.globenewswire.com/cache/11647/file/17610.pdf

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 October 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, caused us to approach the year with a conservative tone. (3) The weakness in 2012 was amplified in the first three quarters of the year by changes in foreign currencies (primarily Canada) relative to the U.S. dollar as indicated earlier.

END MARKET PERFORMANCE:

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 in the first, second, third, and fourth quarters (when compared to the same quarter in the previous year), and for the year, as follows:
  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Annual
2012 20.3% 15.8% 14.0% 9.7% 14.9%
2011 15.5% 18.5% 18.3% 21.0% 20.0%
2010 15.7% 29.8% 30.6% 17.7% 22.4%

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 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. 

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