MSC Expects March-April Orders Backlog to Carry Past May

A little over a month after reporting its 2020 second quarter fiscal results, metalworking and MRO products distributor MSC Industrial Supply shared its March and April sales figures on Tuesday.

The company normally doesn’t provide a sales report for each month, but said it did for April due to heightened uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and intends to continue doing so until that diminishes.

MSC reported April sales of $235.5 million, down 10.5 percent year-over-year, while March and April’s combined sales of $565.4 million were down 7.8 percent.

The company’s Q2 earnings report on April 9 noted a large gap between bookings and invoices during March, and said Tuesday that the trend continued through April, with bookings increasing at a double-digit pace over the previous year due to the continuing surge in large safety and janitorial orders, the scarcity of such products and longer lead times.

MSC reported its Q2 results on April 9 for the period ended Feb. 29, showing that sales were down 4.5 percent year-over-year. But that was before mandated shutdown orders took effect across the US and much of the world — leading to MSC separately sharing its March and April results on Tuesday. The company expects many of these bookings to invoice in May and the fourth quarter of MSC’s fiscal 2020.

“During fiscal April, the company’s non-safety and janitorial product lines saw a significant decline versus the prior year due to the impact of prolonged customer shutdowns and world-wide efforts to control COVID-19,” MSC said Tuesday. “Lastly, the company has seen solid gross margins through fiscal March and fiscal April on strong realization of its mid-year price increase, as well as initial results from the supplier initiatives announced earlier in the fiscal year.”

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