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Did MSC Industrial Direct Squander Its Latest Sales Increase?

Seth Jayson
June 19, 2013

Margins matter. The more MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM  ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong MSC Industrial Direct's competitive position could be.

Here's the current margin snapshot for MSC Industrial Direct over the trailing 12 months: Gross margin is 45.4%, while operating margin is 17.5% and net margin is 10.8%.

Unfortunately, a look at the mo