If you want your company to thrive in the long run, take the advice of Physician Sales & Service CEO Patrick C. Kelly: lay the groundwork now
You could have read a typical Inc. article on Physician Sales & Service way back in 1987.
PSS was then only four years old. Its business was selling supplies to doctors' offices. Gauze pads. Thermometers. Diagnostic equipment. Not exactly a glamorous -- or uncrowded -- industry. Nor did the company have a built-in competitive edge. It could only sell what everybody else was selling.
But chief executive Patrick C. Kelly had hit on a unique strategy, and it was working. Kelly and his two cofounders would set up a warehouse and hire a sales rep or two. They'd offer local physicians next-day delivery of any common item. Competitors couldn't match that -- the industry standard was delivery in three or four days -- so PSS could charge higher prices for its wares.
Those fat margins, in turn, allowed Kelly to invest in niceties like computer systems and his own fleet of snappy delivery trucks. (His competitors typically used UPS or merely tacked physicians' deliveries onto big hospital deliveries.) They also let him hire and train some crackerjack salespeople. Other distributors' reps, more often than not, just took orders. Kelly's made sure that the doctor knew about the latest advances, such as the then-revolutionary 10-minute pregnancy tests.
So PSS prospered. It expanded outward from its base, in Jacksonville, Fla., and by 1987 had five branches, all within the state. Sales that year hit $13 million. The company was profitable. It was just the kind of tidy little success story you read about in these pages all the time.
Today PSS is an example of another kind of success altogether. Call it hypergrowth.
In the past eight years, the company has grown from 5 distribution centers to 56, and from operations in one state to operations in every one of the continental 48. Revenues for fiscal 1996, ending March 31, should be close to half a billion dollars.
Other measures of hypergrowth? Take your pick. In 1987 PSS had maybe 120 people on the payroll. Today it has 1,800. In 1987 stockholders' equity was about $1 million. Today it's more than $40 million. Nor is the ride over. PSS's share price, for example, has roughly quadrupled since the company's May 1994 initial public offering.
As startling as the numbers themselves are the many ways by which PSS has pursued this explosive expansion. It has grown by building new branches from scratch -- 20 in the past five years. It has grown by acquisition, including a recent merger with Taylor Medical, one of its largest competitors. It has grown by taking on new product lines: earlier this year, for instance, it signed an exclusive agreement to sell Abbott Laboratories' diagnostic equipment. It has even grown by swiping market share in existing locations. Amazingly, PSS's same-branch sales have risen an average of 22% every year for the past five.
"Strategy" isn't quite the story here any longer. Sure, next-day delivery and top-notch selling skills have been indispensable to this warp-speed growth. But PSS's capabilities on this score are no longer unique. The other nostrums for business success -- take care of the customer, stay focused on your niche, and so on -- are only part of the PSS saga.
The real story here is how PSS could grow so fast -- how it could turn itself into a huge, market-dominating company -- without blowing apart at the seams. Plenty of entrepreneurial hotshots go for the gold, after all, only to stumble before they're halfway around the track. PSS's ride hasn't been without its bumps. Kelly's partners both left after disagreements with the boss. The company was kicked out of five banks. It lost money two years running.
Today, though, PSS is the undisputed industry leader in physician-office sales -- and it got there in a mere 12 years. That's why we're writing about it in Inc., even though it's probably 100 times the size of the typical company in this magazine. Looking back this little distance, you can see exactly what Kelly, now 48, learned along the way, and how those lessons have shaped what PSS is today. You can see how he laid the groundwork early on for a company that could redefine its business. You can see how he avoided the strains that have blown other high-speed companies apart.
You can see, in sum, 10 lessons about hypergrowth that any entrepreneur with big, burning ambitions had better learn -- preferably now, before takeoff, rather than later, when the education may come a little harder.* * *
I. Set a Big, Bold Goal
Growth wasn't at the top of Pat Kelly's priority list at the beginning. He was living on credit cards and his wife's earnings as a nurse. "My goal was survival" -- he laughs -- "and getting my income back to where it had been." Most small companies get bogged down there. They get so imbued with the struggle-to-survive mentality, they forget about long-term goals.
Kelly got his wake-up call in 1988, as he listened to management guru Charles Garfield give a speech. PSS, Kelly knew, was growing nicely. But its mission statement? Just the usual page-long compendium of highfalutin goals. It didn't really say where the company was headed. Garfield was saying that companies needed a real mission. Simple. Clear. Audacious.
Bingo. Not long afterward, Kelly announced that PSS, a Florida-based company with only a handful of branches, would become the first national physician-supply company. In an industry of local and regional players, it would be the big dog.
That was the beginning of PSS's hypergrowth. From then on, the mission appeared on every company document. Big banners trumpeted it from warehouse walls. Kelly mentioned it every time he got the chance. The effect on the troops was electric. Young hotshots such as Gene Dell, now a regional vice-president at the age of 34, eagerly set out to open new territories. That was PSS's mission, wasn't it? Thanks to the goal, nervous acquirees felt they might have a future with PSS. "They weren't very large then," recalls Nick Pecoraro, who in 1988 was a sales rep for a New Orleans company that PSS bought and who now is general manager of the New Orleans facility. "But they had that goal of being a national company. I liked that."
Today PSS is indeed the first national physician-supply company, thanks in part to its merger with Taylor Medical. Kelly has hardly paused: last year he announced that PSS's new goal was to be a billion-dollar company by year-end 2001. The company hit his first goal, so no one seems to doubt that it will make the second one, too. "Oh, yes," says Cyndi Aszklar, operations manager at the New Orleans branch. "When we say we're going to do something, we do it."
II. Grow Your Own People . . .
Ordinary companies can get by with ordinary people, the kind who do their jobs and go home. Hypergrowth companies need extraordinary people, the kind who work their tails off in pursuit of growth. So where does Kelly find them? He doesn't. He develops them.
Kelly's two partners at the start, Clyde Young and Bill Riddell, were both experienced medical-products sales reps. As PSS grew, Kelly added a few more. Sales, after all, was the company's backbone.
But Kelly found that competitors were fighting hard to keep their best people. If he lured one away, the jilted ex-employer would likely slap PSS with a lawsuit. In the past Kelly had had good luck hiring kids who were scarcely old enough to buy a Budweiser. Now he decided to pursue that strategy with a vengeance. He and his lieutenants began visiting local colleges on Career Day, searching out seniors with a go-get-'em personality. Over time they refined their interviewing techniques to home in on just the kind of person they were looking for. (See "The Foolproof Interviewer's Guide," Good Form, December 1991, [Article link].) Experience didn't matter. Attitudes and behavior did.
Today the average age of the sales reps hired and trained by PSS is 27. The strategy has paid off in any number of ways. Young people are mobile, so the company rarely has trouble finding salespeople for a new facility. They don't mind starting at low pay and earning their advancement. They don't have families, so they can work nights and weekends when necessary.
Most of all, young people can be fired up. PSS's message to them is simple and succinct: You'll have to work harder than you ever imagined. But you're part of a company with a future, and we'll put no barriers in the way of your success. The company communicates that message by rigorously promoting from within, regardless of age or seniority -- and by not batting an eyelash when youthful high achievers earn outrageous sums of money. All the regional vice-presidents (excluding those just joining from the Taylor Medical merger) are homegrown. Charlie Alvarez, vice-president in charge of the eastern region, will oversee roughly $72 million worth of business this year and will earn in the neighborhood of $130,000.
Alvarez is all of 27 years old. The message isn't lost on his peers.* * *
III. . . . Train Them Within an Inch of Their Lives . . .
High-speed growth requires people who not only work hard but work effectively. Since most of PSS's salespeople are fresh out of college, they need training, training, and more training.
Right from the start, PSS's sales trainees learned the business from the ground up. Days, they'd pull products from one of PSS's warehouses and deliver them to doctors' offices. Nights, they'd get instruction in sales techniques from the branch manager. In between, they'd study product lines in preparation for written tests. "You had to come in early in the morning or late in the afternoon," remembers Rebecca Witt, a University of Florida graduate who trained in the Savannah, Ga., branch. "You'd walk around the warehouse, do your work sheets, call manufacturers' 800 numbers and ask questions."
The process today is similar, just more intense. Trainees are assigned to a branch, where they spend 16 weeks working and learning the business. Those who make it through -- the dropout rate is about 10% -- get a week at "PSS University" in Jacksonville. There, instructors lead classes in everything from trends in the health-care industry to basic sales techniques. The trainees are in class from 8 to 5 every day. They role-play, watch themselves on video, and critique one another. Evenings, a dinner speaker reviews the lessons.
All told, the company spends about $10,000 on training each salesperson. "How do I know it's worth it?" asks Kelly. "I can only look at the company's results. Forty percent annual growth. Twenty-two percent same-store growth, when the industry average is 3%. You tell me."
IV. . . . And Give Them Better Tools Than Anybody Else's
PSS always had better systems than its competitors did. Nick Pecoraro remembers when his company was acquired by PSS. Suddenly, the stock-number system was rationalized. Suddenly, he could call in his orders rather than write up picking tickets and drive back to the warehouse.
But hypergrowth companies have to present a moving target, and Kelly has made sure that PSS does. Two years ago, for example, he noticed a problem. The more successful his eager young sales reps were, the more they got bogged down in paperwork. He also saw what he thought was a solution: notebook computers.
Today, when sales reps such as Stephen Douglas go out on a call, they carry with them a tiny Compaq Concerto computer hooked up to a touch-screen input device, or "pentop." A tap on the screen's menu calls up Douglas's list of customers. Another tap brings up the records of the physician he's visiting. Other taps can conjure up reams of customer data, including order history, prices, credit records, and current accounts receivable.
When the customer places an order, Douglas taps in the information -- quantities, prices, and so forth. Douglas often has full pricing discretion, so he can sell by historical price, by gross margin, or by any other method he chooses; the computer can handle them all. Should he want to discuss an expensive piece of equipment, he has half a dozen manufacturers' electronic catalogs at his disposal. PSS has even built in cost analyses, so that the rep can tell the doctor exactly how long a blood analyzer, for example, will take to pay for itself.
Order in electronic hand, Douglas can then hook a pocket-size radio-frequency transmitter to the computer. In seconds the order is winging its way to PSS's central computer, and then to a printer in the warehouse. If the order is received before the time cutoff, it will be delivered to the physician that afternoon. Otherwise, it will go out the next morning.
Chief information officer Darlene Kelly (no relation to Pat) estimates the cost of this system at about $1.2 million. On average, she says, it has allowed each of the company's 460 reps to write an additional $10,000 in sales (or roughly $3,000 in gross profit) each month. Competitors are just now developing systems of their own. "PSS is way ahead," says analyst Lawrence Marsh of Wheat First Butcher Singer.
V. Focus on Growth -- But Get Everyone Else in the Company Focused on Profits
Ever since PSS passed the survival stage, Kelly has been a nut for growth. When that lunchtime speaker talked about missions, Kelly thought about one thing: getting bigger.
Then again, a lot of entrepreneurs are nuts for growth. What makes Kelly more successful than most is that he has built a concern for profitability into the bone and sinew of his company.
For starters, every branch is a profit center. No surprise there. Branch managers get big bonuses for hitting earnings targets. Regional vice-presidents, each of whom oversees 10 or 12 branches, get the same.
But unlike most companies' employees, every PSS salesperson, truck driver, warehouse worker, and office staffer is watching profit margins, too.
Salespeople get a commission not on top-line revenues but on gross margin. Their computers can report cumulative margin (and commission) for any given month, week, day, or individual order. Operations people get semiannual bonuses based mainly on their branch's profit performance. Employees at a top-ranked branch can get bonuses of several thousand dollars a year.
What gives those incentives some teeth is that everybody knows all the numbers, all the time. Salespeople's daily and month-to-date reports are posted on the office walls. Every branch's profit-and-loss statement is discussed at monthly meetings. The fact that bonuses depend on those numbers has a way of focusing employees' minds. "Last meeting they were questioning every single thing" on the income statement, says operations manager Aszklar. "Our freight out was a little high. The guys in the warehouse asked, 'Why?"
The expectation at PSS is that a new branch will turn a profit after 18 months, and that mature branches will earn in the neighborhood of 8% on sales. Not many branches miss those targets. So PSS makes money even while it grows at breakneck speed.
VI. Build Your Equity
"If you're a fast-growing company," says Kelly, sighing, "it's like having a company that's losing money. It makes the bank nervous."
Kelly's banks were always nervous, so he was always in danger of losing his credit lines. "They'd say, 'Pat, you gotta slow down.' I'd say, 'I can't.' I'd try to build up enough equity so they'd be comfortable. But I'd predict 30% growth and run at 50%. That's when the banks would tell me it was time to move on."
Kelly was asked to leave by five banks. His conclusion? "Grow your equity."
Kelly did so in four ways:
Soon after he launched the company, he asked his employees to buy in. There were only 21 people on the payroll at the time, but they put up $50,000. The founders kicked in another $100,000.
A year later he set up a formal employee stock ownership plan, which enables PSS people to buy stock with before-tax dollars. They can participate through payroll deductions of up to 10% of their salaries, matched in varying (and discretionary) degrees by the company. Today the ESOP owns nearly one-fifth of PSS shares.
In 1989 he sold 20% of the company to Tullis-Dickerson & Co., a small venture-capital fund. Good thing he did: 1990 and 1991 were a time of brutal competitive battles in PSS's newly opened western branches, and the company was unprofitable.
In 1994 PSS went public, raising nearly $16 million at $11 a share. In 1995 it was continuing to grow rapidly. But thanks to the IPO its debt-to-equity ratio was just a little greater than 1:1.
VII. Have a Good Time -- Even When You're Doing Serious Stuff
Hypergrowth is hard. People work long hours and get stressed out. Some quit. That may be why Kelly has made recreation a central element of the PSS culture.
Annual picnics, organized by region, take everyone to a distant resort for two or three days of fun, including a popular branch-against-branch volleyball tournament that boasts T-shirts and trophies. The four-day national sales meeting sports golf and other games as well as the national volleyball playoffs. Kelly takes the corporate staff on half-day excursions once a quarter -- to Key West for a lobster dinner, to the beach for surfing instruction, to a rink for in-line skating.
What makes PSS different from other have-a-good-time companies, though, is that Kelly also wants people to enjoy themselves while they're working.
Take those monthly P&L meetings, for instance. They were important. They were serious. But they weren't fun. Occasionally, Kelly noticed, people's eyes would glaze over at the numbers.
So corporate trainer Susan Parker, at Kelly's behest, came up with the PSS Challenge.
Today the monthly P&L meetings take place at some recreational site -- the Jacksonville branch did one at a bowling alley, another at the local ballpark; New Orleans held one at an amusement park -- and branches choose teams for a contest modeled on Family Feud.
Each month's contest focuses on a different business subject. "May's topic was the bonus program," explains Parker. "Others are purchasing and inventory, customer service, and the balance sheet." Teams prepare for the game by studying "hint sheets" posted at the branch. Winners get points toward such prizes as jackets and watches.
In a way the PSS Challenge is simply an extension of an approach Kelly has cultivated for years: expect people not just to work hard but also to understand the business, and reward them for their knowledge. Every branch, for example, has a book of 100 questions ("What's a leasehold improvement?" "What are this branch's inventory days?"), and every employee is expected to know the answers. When Kelly visits a branch he'll ask employees randomly chosen questions -- and pass out $20 bills for correct answers.
VIII. Avoid Bureaucracy
Kelly hates policy manuals, so PSS doesn't have one. He avoids memos. He can't stand the thought of rules and regulations. Still, you can't run a hypergrowth company like a small business. Each of PSS's 56 branches has to look and work pretty much like all the others.
Surprisingly, most do. That's due partly to the company's training program -- everyone goes to the same school, so to speak -- and partly to the fact that everyone in a branch is likely to have worked at some other branch. (PSS in the past was like the army: if you weren't ready to move, you weren't hired. Today it tries to hire and place people close to their home.)
But Kelly has dreamed up another way to get people marching to the same music: the Blue Ribbon tour.
Twice a year, Kelly or one of his top lieutenants drops in on each branch unannounced, wielding a score sheet. Are there pictures of employees on the walls? Check. Are the trucks clean? Check. Are service levels up to standard? Check. "There are 100 things that are the right way to do business," says Kelly. "They either do it or they don't. If they do, they get a check mark."
On this year's first tour, the New Orleans branch got a 94, a point of pride to the branch's employees. That may or may not be enough to win the top prize, a pot of $25,000 that will be divided equally among everyone on the branch's payroll.
Now and then Kelly finds a branch that isn't up to snuff. "I've walked in to do a Blue Ribbon and turned around and walked out. They got a zero. I wouldn't fire anybody on the spot -- but the regional leader was in there the next day to see what was going on."
IX. Share the Wealth
The payoff of hypergrowth is substantial wealth -- and Kelly, like most highly successful entrepreneurs, is now worth many millions.
But thanks to the widespread stock ownership, PSS's employees understand that they'll get a chance to share in the wealth if they stick around. That knowledge, in turn, lets PSS run a high-performance operation without too much turnover. "You need stability to run a successful branch," says Nick Pecoraro.
The ESOP at the moment is worth roughly $46 million. One branch operations manager has nearly a million dollars' worth of stock through his ESOP holdings alone. A truck driver has nearly half a million. Both are in their early thirties. Other employees own stock not only through the ESOP but also through an employee stock-purchase plan (which allows people to buy shares with after-tax dollars) and through an incentive stock-option plan (which provides options to key personnel and to all employees with more than five years' service).
All told, ownership of PSS stock has already created about 40 millionaires, most of whom are still on the company payroll. "I always stress stock ownership to everybody," says Roderick Smith, manager of the New Orleans warehouse. "You can see some results -- 'Hey, this is going to add up over time."
X. Build Leaders for the Future
Every new branch needs two new managers -- or, as PSS prefers to call them, "leaders": one in operations and one in sales. With hypergrowth, that's a lot of leaders. "If you're growing revenues 40% a year, you have to grow people 40% a year," Kelly says.
At first, he just promoted the best salespeople. But the turnover among their ranks was astronomical -- the goals and characteristics of a great salesperson aren't necessarily those of a great leader. Now he finds people who want to be leaders and sends them to special sessions of PSS University. He also takes them on a boat ride, usually down the Inland Waterway in Florida. Kelly, who has a name for everything, calls it Creativity Week.
"What happens is, three of these young leaders come get on my boat. They're required to read three books -- A Whack on the Side of the Head, The Goal, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. They read those books, and in the morning we talk about them. In the afternoon we go through 20 possible problems. It's a case-study approach: when this happens, what do you do? They solve those problems as a group. I'll impart to them some of the ideas that have come out over the years on how to solve this problem.
"The second day comes, and the next three show up for the boat trip. The first three, who were pupils yesterday, are now the teachers. I just sit back and listen. If they miss a point, I'll reiterate it. We try to teach the process: you're a pupil today, a teacher tomorrow. In the afternoon, that group works through another 20 problems. Now it's six people working them through -- and so it goes, all the way down to Key West and all the way back.
"This will be our ninth year coming up. Everybody who is in management has been through the program. They're the newest, most promotable people. This year all the Taylor managers will go through it, too.
"This is how we teach people. It has worked really well for us."* * *
If you were to sum up all these commandments into one big one, it might be this: Build the kind of company that can turn on a dime when it has to.
Hypergrowth, after all, is risky. You have stretched yourself to the limit. You have taken advantage of one set of market conditions. When the market changes, you're vulnerable. Think of the hypergrowth stars of the past, such as Wang Laboratories or Digital Equipment Corp. Health care, moreover, is probably the most mercurial marketplace around. It's not hard to imagine that some shift of government policy or business strategy could jeopardize PSS's positioning. Even now, its salespeople worry that their customers are being forced into larger and larger practices -- and that big hospital-supply companies will muscle in on their turf.
On the other hand, you have to think that PSS will adapt to the market changes. You have to think so, because it has already done so once, only two years ago. In 1993 the Clintons were talking serious health-care reform, and doctors were running scared. Before, PSS's customer surveys had found that most doctors ranked price dead last in a list of reasons for buying from a supplier. Most of them valued service far more, along with their relationship with the sales rep. Now the rankings were upside down. Fully 70% of PSS's customers were saying that price was the most important factor.
So Kelly swung into action. PSS cut its prices on 300 of its most popular items. It initiated a kind of buying club, dubbed Network Plus, in which physicians agreed to buy most of their supplies through PSS in return for low prices. Gross margin fell three percentage points over the next two years. Salespeople's commissions suffered. Kelly himself was chagrined: it meant a wholesale change in strategy. "Here was a guy who stood on a soapbox and preached for 10 years, 'You are a Cadillac,' all of a sudden telling them they should become a Chevrolet," he says. It took time for people to become convinced.
But the kind of company Kelly had built was precisely the kind of company that could make that shift. Salespeople -- and everyone else on the PSS payroll -- had a long-term stake in PSS's success. They knew what the surveys said, and they could see the impact of PSS's moves on the financials. They trusted Kelly and the other top executives. At the branches, managers and employees paid even more attention than before to expenses. Everyone had bought in to PSS and could see why people were being asked to change. Slowly, salespeople began throwing themselves into the new strategy. As they did PSS expanded its market share. It not only maintained its net margins, it improved them, thanks mainly to a drop in selling and administrative expenses.
Pat Kelly had built that capability into Physician Sales & Service before hypergrowth began. Now, as big as the company is, he is capitalizing on what he created not so long ago, back when PSS was just an "ordinary" success story.
THE HARD-EARNED WISDOM OF PATRICK C. KELLY
On handling mistakes:
"I spent my childhood from the age of 5 in the Richmond, Va., Boys Home. When I was 8 I got caught stealing a tube of glue from a store. Pop Wood, the guardian of the home, came to get me. I knew he was going to beat the hell out of me.
"But he didn't. He just said, 'Pat, you know better than this. I'm not going to spank you, because I think you're smart enough to learn from this.'
"Later I got in trouble for something else. We had a new guardian at the home, and he had a different view of the way you treat kids. He beat me pretty bad. It took me a long time to recover.
"Because of this we have a saying at PSS: it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. People here will never get in trouble for making a mistake."
On giving young people responsibility:
"For 11 months I was responsible -- me, Pat Kelly, a buck sergeant, 21 years of age -- for issuing all the weapons for the troops north of Da Nang in South Vietnam. Later I assigned all the vehicles -- tanks, jeeps, trucks. I had colonels begging me for jeeps. And I'd have a grunt marine come in who just got his jeep blown out from under him. I'd make the decision to move that jeep to the marine, quick, before the colonel got it.
"It's unbelievable what the military does in giving young people responsibility. And that's what we do at PSS. Every time we need a vice-president for this or that, I say, guys, don't look outside. They're down there in the foxholes. Go find them."
On dealing with the government:
"When we started out, we knew we had to collect sales tax. I had written to the state of Florida to get a tax ID number, but it hadn't come. So the first month I just figured out what we owed and sent them a check.
"They sent it back. They said, you don't have a tax ID number, we can't accept your money. I sent it in again with a letter; they sent it back again. The next month we did $43,000 in sales and I sent them another check. They sent that one back, too.
"The third month, I had my state tax ID number. So now I mail in taxes for all three months.
"They took that check -- and sent me a delinquency notice and a fine for not paying the first two months' tax on time!"
"I've come to the belief that banks are not in the business of banking. They're in the business of collecting fees. We've been thrown out of five banks. One convinced us they'd made a mistake, and we went back to them. Then they burned us again!
"We once decided to bury a bank in my backyard. We had a casket built. And we grabbed everything from that bank that we had. Our loan documents, their stationery, coffee cups with their name on it. We put it all in that casket. Then we built a tombstone to put on top. We had a hole dug, and every employee at the corporate office got to throw a shovelful of dirt in the grave. Some of them kicked the dirt in.
"To this day, that bank is dead and buried -- in my backyard."
On dividing the equity when you're starting out:
"There were four of us, my two partners and I and an investor. It was a real sticky issue. I felt we couldn't run the company by consensus. If we had four equal partners, it would be hard to make decisions.
"So ultimately I convinced them to set it up so they each had 23% ownership and I had 31%. What that meant was, it took three of them to disagree with me, and all I had to do was find one to make a decision. It was a good strategy. It ended up working."
On personal goals:
"These young kids always believe my goal was to get rich. I say, gang, I was rich 10 years ago, when I was worth a million or two. I can't spend any more than that.
"My personal goal for the last 10 years has been to grow 100 CEOs like me. I figured if I could grow 100 people like me, who make the kinds of decisions I have to make, who treat people the way they should be treated, I'd be worth so much money, it'd be disgusting.
"Now I'm focusing on a different goal. I'm the first kid from the Boys Home to be in a position to do something really significant financially for the home. It has helped so many kids.
"If I become worth $100 million, I know it's going to be good for the Boys Home."
TEN YEARS IN THE LIFE OF PSS ($ IN THOUSANDS)
Fiscal year* 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
Net sales $10,100 $13,900 $20,100 $30,900 $47,800 $66,100 $91,400 $118,300 $169,700 $236,200
Net income $131 $171 $239 $341 ($48) ($496) $803 $339 $1,595 $3,680
Total equity $683 $1,028 $1,618 $2,519 $4,617 $4,722 $6,882 $8,450 $12,087 $39,841
Number of 5 5 7 11 20 25 29 40 45 56
distribution centers *ending March 31