Melville-based MSC Industrial Direct Co. said Wednesday that its fiscal second-quarter sales and earnings rose, despite the severe weather and softening export demand that plagued its customers.

The company, one of the world's largest distributors of industrial tools and supplies, said it countered the slowdown with stronger growth in other areas such as its government accounts.

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Sales rose 6.8 percent to $706.4 million in the quarter ended Feb. 28 from $661.5 million a year earlier. Despite the increase, revenue fell short of the $716.8 million expected by analysts that Bloomberg surveyed.

Net income climbed 4 percent to $51.5 million from $49.5 million the year before. Per-share earnings rose to 83 cents from 79 cents.

"We have seen a significant and swift change in the demand environment since the start of the calendar year due to the impact of the rapid drop in oil prices, softening export demand and poor weather," said president and chief executive Erik Gershwind. "Our double-digit growth in national accounts and government continued, while our core customers lagged the company average."

The company, which has another headquarters in Davidson, North Carolina, expects third-quarter revenue to increase to between $740 million and $752 million.

MSC shares closed at $71.26, up 22 cents, in New York Stock Exchange trading yesterday.