NEWPORT NEWS—Ferguson recently released a summary of its first quarter financial results, showing net sales of $7,931 million that were 16.6 percent ahead of last year, with growth rates slowing through the period as expected. Organic revenue growth was 12.7 percent with a further 2.7 percent contribution from acquisitions and 1.5 percent from an additional sales day, partially offset by a 0.3 percent adverse impact from foreign exchange rates. Inflation in the first quarter was approximately 15 percent.
Gross margins of 30.5 percent were 80 basis points lower than last year, driven primarily by strong prior year comparables, during a period of rapid commodity price inflation and acute supply chain disruption. Operating expenses improved 40 basis points as a percentage of sales which partially offset the gross margin decline, limiting operating margin compression to 40 basis points on a reported and adjusted basis.
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