Tractor Supply plows ahead

Despite a stagnant economy and drought conditions across large parts of the country, Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply Co. reported sales and earnings growth.

The company posted second-quarter sales of $1.29 billion, up 9.6% from $1.18 billion in the same quarter last year.

The nation’s largest chain of farm and ranch specialty stores posted earnings of $106.6 million, up 8.3% from $91.2 million in the year-ago period.

"We are pleased with our ability to generate double-digit EPS growth during the second quarter, while operating in a stagnant economy and navigating weather shifts and unfavorable drought conditions,” said Jim Wright, chairman and CEO.

The company opened 18 new stores compared to 16 new store openings in the prior year's second quarter. The company operates 1,135 stores in 45 states.

Same-store sales increased 3.2%, even as the early spring weather pulled sales out of the second quarter and into the first quarter, according to the company.

The impact of the drought across much of the middle of the country appears to have affected farmers much more than it has affected the farm and ranch retailer.

"Our team is actively managing the product assortment to meet customer needs in the affected markets as the drought continues to spread and intensify," said Wright.