But that message spooked investors, leading to a 4.2 percent decline in the company's stock. It was the sharpest drop in nearly six months for the stock and came on four times its normal trading volume.
"There are always competing priorities within any organization; for us, two of those priorities are sales growth and gross profit,"
The performance of the
But the company's gross profit margin came in at 50.8 percent, the first time since the end of 2009 that it fell below the typical 51-53 percent range. The company cited changes in its product mix and "a strong sales growth emphasis" for the dip.
As the company spends more money to facilitate sales growth in the coming quarters,
The company said it continues to rely less on stores and more on its industrial vending operation, in which protective gear and products used by factory workers are sold in the plants themselves.
The company also continues to shuffle its store locations in response to performance measures and shifts in customer demand. It said it closed eight stores during the latest quarter, though it had opened others and overall store-derived revenue grew. At the end of the period,
Separately, the company said it was trying to shorten the time in which it is paid for goods, which it said has grown in recent years as large customers pressed
"We have had similar short-term accounts receivable challenges in the past, and we have found ways to counteract the issue," the company said.
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