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One of southeast Minnesota’s top business performers–Fastenal Company of Winona–is reporting sharply higher profits for the first quarter of 2018.

Fastenal said Wednesday that its net sales were up 13.2 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The company reported net earnings of $174,300,000, an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Fastenal said strong market demand for its fastener and construction products drove sales higher.

In its report to shareholders, Fastenal noted that its continuing successful performance is related to strong results from:

  • its expanding industrial vending device operations; with 73,561 in service, up 14.2% over March 31, 2017
  • 678 active Onsite locations as of March 31, 2018 (dedicated sales and service near customer’s facility), up 55.1% from a year ago
  • signing 36 new national account contracts, with daily sales in this category up 17.3%

In addition, Fastenal’s purchase of Manufacturers Supply Company (‘Mansco’) a year ago increased the company’s sales growth 1.3%.

One thing did not grow for Fastenal in the past year.  The company reported that it had closed 49 branch locations.  But even so, it grew in headcount by 1,180 employees, with 123 of those related to the Mansco acquisition.

Fastenal’s board of directors Tuesday declared a dividend of $0.37 per share to be paid in cash on May 23 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 25.