Digi-Key Maintains Industry Presence through Recession, Resumes Hiring and Surpasses 2,000 Employees

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minnesota, USA - January 6, 2010

Local businesses have begun recovering from the effects of the recent global economic recession. Digi-Key Corporation has maintained its presence in the electronic components industry and recently resumed hiring new employees and surpassed the 2,000 employee mark.

As of January 3, 2010, Digi-Key had 2,020 employees. "If our projections for 2010 materialize, we would expect to see a significant increase in this number," said Digi-Key president and COO Mark Larson.

"The recent year was challenging, both for Digi-Key and our industry," Larson said. "While most of our competitors implemented major layoffs, Digi-Key chose a different course. We eliminated overtime hours. We reduced our labor force by attrition, (in other words, when somebody left the company we elected not to rehire) and we sharply trimmed marketing costs."

Digi-Key's sales decreased from $984 million in 2008 to $926 million in 2009. Larson said this six percent decrease in total sales does not accurately convey the drastic decline and rise in sales throughout 2009.

"In the first six months of 2009 we saw our sales plunge more than 20% when compared to 2008," Larson said. "However, by the second half of the year we saw signs of improvement. In October it was almost like somebody flipped a switch and sales turned up just as sharply as they had turned down at the end of 2008. So 2009, which looked like a total disaster in the first part of the year, finished strong with record sales months. We believe that once industry numbers are known, we will see that Digi-Key gained significant market share for the year."

With increasing sales, Digi-Key has also been able to increase the number of employees in its workforce. Since 2002, Digi-Key has created more than 860 jobs. The average age of a current Digi-Key employee is 41 years with an average length of employment at Digi-Key of at least six years. Approximately 58 percent of Digi-Key's employees reside in Thief River Falls, Minn. while the remaining 42 percent live in surrounding communities.

"We consider the quality of our workforce and our employees a differentiator in our industry," Larson said. "Enduring the downturn without layoffs also gives us a competitive edge in our industry. We've been able retain the substantial investment we've made in training and developing a quality workforce. In many cases, our competition has to rebuild their workforce."

Digi-Key provides its employees with ongoing training and career development opportunities; an above average health coverage plan; dental, life and disability insurance; a 401(k) profit sharing plan and a clean, comfortable working environment.

Continued Growth

"We feel that Digi-Key offers a unique situation because we're a company that is growing rapidly," Larson said. "Growth translates into opportunity for the employee. We are constantly looking for talent so that means an employee can start at any particular job and have opportunities to move throughout the company and totally utilize their skill set."

Larson identified three main drivers to Digi-Key's continued growth in 2010:

1. Digi-Key's dominant position in the electronics components industry on the internet.

"Right now more than 40% of the web searches in our competitive set go to Digi-Key," Larson said. "There's nobody that's really close to Digi-Key in terms of web activity."

2. Continued sales growth in Europe and Asia.

"In 2002, our sales outside North America were less than $4 million. By 2009 these sales had grown to more than $200 million," Larson said. "We expect foreign sales to be the single greatest contributor to our growth in 2010. In fact, when including sales to Canada and Mexico, more than 30% of the jobs Digi-Key has created in our community are a direct result of our international growth."

3. Digi-Key continues to evolve as a dominant supplier of electronic components for design engineers and is now recognized as the preferred distributor for volume or production quantities.

"Digi-Key's Volume Business Division continues to gain traction, and we believe it will be a major factor in our sales growth in 2010," said Larson.

About Digi-Key Corporation

Digi-Key Corporation, based in Thief River Falls, Minn., is a global, full-service provider of both prototype/design and production quantities of electronic components, offering more than three million products from over 650 quality name-brand manufacturers. With over one million products in stock and an impressive selection of online resources, Digi-Key is committed to stocking the broadest range of electronic components in the industry and providing the best service possible to its customers. Additional information and access to Digi-Key's broad product offering is available on the Digi-Key website.