Rexel says U.S. sales were up in Q1

Rexel SA’s release on its global Q1 sales put the nominal gain in U.S. sales at 12%, to 670.3 million euros (roughly $881 million at current exchange rates). The company said the actual gain in the quarter, “on a constant basis and same [number of working] days,” was 5.0%.

According to the company, the U.S. sales increase was “driven by the industrial end-market, mainly in the energy and lighting segments.”

The comparison above is made in euros. Rexel SA reports its global sales in euros, as it is based in Paris and the company’s common stock is trade on the French exchange.

However, as the dollar-euro exchange rate in early May 2011 was $1.48 per euro (vs. 1.31 as of May 4, 2012), conversion unearths the fact that, as converted from the reported euros to dollars, the company’s U.S. sales for Q1/11 were roughly $885 million. That’s higher than those of the current quarter, not lower.

Globally, the company reported 3.23 billion euros ($4.36 billion) in Q1 sales, up 4.3% over Q1/11 – or +1.7% “on a constant basis and same days.”

Canada’s sales growth was slightly less than that in the U.S., putting North America results up 4.9% (“constant basis and same days”). However, gross profit for North America expanded from 21.1% in Q1/11 to 21.3% in Q1/12. Company-wide, gross margins in Q1/12 were 24.9% (up 20 basis points in one year).

Rexel noted that North America sales were up 15.7% on a reported basis, thanks to the acquisition of Liteco, a Canadian distributor.

Branch closings

Appendix 4 of the Rexel release showed branches by geography. As of March 31, the company had 288 branches in the United States, down 11 from Dec. 31, 2011. A year earlier, the company showed 313 U.S. branches, meaning a net decline of 25 branches, or nearly 8%, in the previous 365 days.

Globally, the company showed that it had shed 45 branches in the year to March 31, 2012.


That appendix also showed Rexel with 4,974 U.S. employees, down 1.5%. Company-wide, Rexel SA had 126 fewer employees as of March 31, 2012, compared to one year earlier, at 28,704.

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