The latest sales figures from 3M (NYSE:MMM) show the company now generating sales growth across all its segments, and its fourth-quarter and full-year sales targets now look easily achievable.

A runner getting set to move into 2021.

Image source: Getty Images.

The table below shows the evolution of 3M's sales in 2020. Investors will be buoyed by the news that growth in the worst impacted segment, transportation and electronics, has now turned positive.

Meanwhile, the healthcare and consumer segments -- the focal point of the company's troubles in recent years -- continue to recover strongly. The healthcare numbers, in particular, are critical positives for the company because management sees the segment's sales growth as the key to improving margins. 

3M Segment

November Organic Sales Growth

October Organic Sales Growth

Q3 Organic Sales Growth

Q2 Organic Sales Growth

Q1 Organic Sales Growth

Safety & Industrial

14%

4%

6.9%

(6.1%)

2.2%

Transportation & Electronics

1%

(4%)

(7.1%)

(18.9%)

(3%)

Healthcare

7%

8%

8.1%

(12.4%)

1.2%

Consumer

15%

8%

5.5%

(5%)

6%

Total

7%

2%

0.9%

(13.1%)

0.3%

Data source: 3M presentations.

Fourth-quarter sales are now expected to come in at $8.2 billion to $8.4 billion. Given that sales in the first nine months were $23.6 billion, it implies full-year sales of $31.8 billion to $32 billion. Considering that Wall Street analysts are expecting $31.88 billion, 3M should easily meet market expectations for sales. For reference, 3M will take a restructuring charge in the fourth quarter, which will prepare the company for future earnings growth.

All told, 3M has good sales momentum going into 2021, and the stock's substantive earnings and free-cash-flow generation make it an attractive stock to buy

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.