Winona, Minn.-based Fastenal Co. said it expects to miss the average analyst net earnings expectations for the fourth quarter of 2013 of $0.36 per share.
The company listed three reasons for the miss. First is weakness in the heavy manufacturing component of the business. This weakness first appeared in late 2012, and intensified in recent months, the company said.
Secondly, expansion of store headcount -- from 10,143 in May to 11,421 in November -- pushed employee costs higher. And thirdly, gross margin is running below expectations.
Despite these three trends, the company expects to beat its fourth-quarter net earnings of a year ago, when they were reported at $0.33 per share.