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Melville tool-supply firm aims for $2B annual revenue

David Sandler, chief executive of MSC Industrial Direct

David Sandler, chief executive of MSC Industrial Direct Co. of Melville with the company's supply catalog, affectionately referred to as The Big Book. (January 2010) Credit: John Dunn, 2010

Tool distributor MSC Industrial Direct, of Melville, has set a goal this year of surpassing the $2 billion mark in annual revenue -- an all-time high -- and its newly reported third-quarter sales numbers are a strong step in that direction, the company says.

MSC sells online and through the company's catalog, called The Big Book, which lists 600,000 tools and supplies in a 4,484-page volume weighing more than 10 pounds. It specializes in metalworking, maintenance and repair equipment.

So far this year, after three quarters reported, MSC is on track with $1.488 billion in revenue.

Third-quarter results were made public Thursday. They show MSC had $62.1 million in profit on $532.38 million in sales for the quarter ended May 28, up from the year-ago quarter's $44.2 million profit on $450.3 million in sales.

"Coming out of the recession in 2010, we laid out a plan that included accelerated market share gains due to the power of our model and our investment initiatives," David Sandler, president and chief executive, said in a Thursday news release.

The company's success is based on a "repeatable formula within the metalworking segment" which it hopes to replicate in other divisions, Sandler said.

MSC's growth potential is huge, the chief executive said, because it has "a unique combination of many years of market leadership, yet a low market share position, due to the fragmented nature of the market."

"Our plan is to take that repeatable formula and extend it. Over time, we will move into other product lines consumed on the manufacturing floor as well as other end markets outside of the narrow band of durable manufacturing that we excel in today."

Photo:  MSC president and chief executive David Sandler the company's catalog, The Big Book.

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