The 2,611-location retailer and distributor of industrial supplies and specialty tools reported strong gains in sales and earnings for the quarter ended March 31.
Net sales increased 20.0% to $768.9 million, compared with $640.6 million in the same quarter of 2011. Net earnings increased 26.0% to $100.2 million, up from $79.5 million in the first quarter last year.
The company, whose motto is “Growth through customer service,” said in its release that growth in the first quarter generally continues the trend of relative strength the company saw in 2011 and most of 2010.
The company saw rapid growth in its FAST Solutions effort, or industrial vending. Fastenal increased its installed machine base by 2,345 machines in the first quarter, bringing the number to 9,978.
“We believe our FAST Solutions have the potential to be transformative to industrial distribution,” the company said in its release. The vending machines distribute high turnover construction products on-site at factories or other work environments.
During the first three months of 2012, Fastenal opened 28 new stores.