Manuel Perez de la Mesa
Manuel Perez de la Mesa

Distribution powerhouse PoolCorp said it has broken its own record for first-quarter earnings.

The Covington, La.-based megadistributor saw net sales of $515.3 million, marking a 14 percent increase over Q1 2015, which brought $450.4 million. Gross profit increased 15 percent for a record $143 million, compared with last year’s Q1 profits of $124.8 million.

For sure, these sales are partially due to the recovering economy and increase in building and renovations, PoolCorp officials said. But they attributed other factors to the boom. Warmer weather enabled the season to kick off early with pool openings, new construction and renovations, especially in the more seasonal markets. There was an increase in early buys. Even this year’s calendar played a role, officials said, with Easter falling in March rather than April and acting as an impetus to start the season in some areas. The firm even cites a 2 percent impact from having an additional day to sell (Feb. 29 because it’s a Leap Year).

Due to these earnings, the company updated its fiscal 2016 earnings guidance to a range of $3.25 to $3.40 per diluted share, up from its original $3.20 to $3.35.

Building materials led in sales and rose 15.4 percent, which the company attributes to industry growth and its own gains in market share.

Commercial products also performed well, with sales increasing 19.2 percent. “We are on track to surpass $100 million in commercial product sales in 2016, an industry first for any distributor,” said PoolCorp CEO Manuel Perez de la Mesa during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

While the increases no doubt reflect positive trends for the whole industry, there may have been a little robbing of Peter to pay Paul during the first quarter: “We believe that almost half of our first-quarter sales growth were sales that would naturally have been realized later in the year, primarily in the second quarter,” Perez de la Mesa said.