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Stanley Black (SWK) Faces Low Demand, Supply-Chain & Cost Woes

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Stanley Black & Decker (SWK - Free Report) has been grappling with reduced retail and consumer demand. As a result, softness in volumes has been weighing on its Tools & Outdoor segment’s performance. Within the segment, the Power Tools division is experiencing weakness (revenues down 5% organically in 2022) due to reduced consumer spending as a result of an increase in interest rates. For 2023, the company expects segmental organic revenues to decline in low-single digits with approximately 5% decrease in volumes.

For 2023, Stanley Black expects a soft demand environment compared to that experienced last year. The company anticipates a decline in volumes compared to last year, with an expected decrease in new housing starts and remodel activity. SWK expects organic growth to decline in low-single digits in the year. For 2023, the company expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of 0-$2. In 2022, it reported adjusted earnings (from continuing operations) of $4.62 per share.

Stanley Black has operations in multiple nations. Such business diversifications expose it to risks from unfavorable movements in foreign currencies, geopolitical issues and other headwinds. In fourth-quarter 2022, foreign currency translation had a negative impact of 3% on sales.

Supply-chain restrictions, primarily semiconductor constraints, and logistics and input cost increases weighed on Stanley Black’s operations in 2022. Despite improvement in supply-chain constraints and an anticipated reduction in raw material costs in 2023 due to deceleration in inflation, the persistence of these headwinds poses a threat to the company’s bottom-line performance. Evidently, in 2022, the company’s cost of sales jumped 24.3% year over year. Also, selling, general and administrative expenses climbed 5.5%.

Among other industrial companies, A. O. Smith Corporation (AOS - Free Report) and Nordson Corporation (NDSN - Free Report) have been plagued by supply-chain disruptions and cost inflation.

Over time, A. O. Smith has been dealing with the adverse impacts of the high cost of sales and operating expenses. In 2022, the cost of sales jumped 8.8% year over year. High raw material and transportation costs are pushing up the cost of sales.

Apart from the high cost of sales, cost increases from production inefficiencies are hurting A. O. Smith’s bottom line (down 1.1% year over year in the fourth quarter). Supply-chain constraints and labor shortages are other headwinds for the company.

Nordson has been dealing with the adverse impacts of the high cost of sales due to rising inflation. Cost of sales increased 12.1% year over year in fiscal 2022. The same increased 4.7% in the fiscal first quarter.

High costs, supply-chain disruptions and labor challenges are weighing on Nordson’s margin performance. In the fiscal first quarter, NDSN’s gross margin decreased by approximately 190 basis points.

Coming back to Stanley Black, while the company faces some near-term challenges, strength in the industrial business owing to strong backlogs and healthy demand for aerospace fasteners augur well. Cost-control measures partly offset the adverse impact of raw material cost inflation. Divestiture of non-core operations should help the company focus on its core areas of business growth. SWK’s consistent measures to reward shareholders through dividends and share buybacks are encouraging.

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