Grainger Barrels into 2012 with Record Sales

Chairman/CEO Jim Ryan said 2011 “was an exceptional year for Grainger” as he announced its $8.1 billion in sales and record earnings of $9.07 per share.

Grainger announced Jan. 25 that its annual sales for 2011 were $8.1 billion, a new record for the company and a healthy 12 percent increase from 2010's $7.2 billion. Net earnings were $658 million -- 29 percent better than the $511 million in 2010 -- and earnings per share were a record $9.07, 31 percent above the $6.93 in 2010.

"This was an exceptional year for Grainger," said Jim Ryan, the company's chairman, president, CEO. "Our team is producing consistently solid results with a strong focus on helping our customers improve the productivity of their businesses. We continue to see a long runway for growth and are investing aggressively in our proven growth drivers: product line expansion, sales force expansion, eCommerce, inventory services, and international expansion."

The company's financial release said Grainger introduced more than 80,000 new products in 2012, transacted more than $2 billion in sales through e-commerce, and added more than 1,300 net new jobs. "We remain confident in our strategy and leading position in the large and fragmented MRO market. We reiterate our 2012 sales and earnings guidance issued on November 16, 2011," Ryan added. That 2012 guidance is for sales growth of 10-14 percent and earnings per share of $9.90 to $10.65.

Sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 were $2.1 billion, up 14 percent from the $1.8 billion in 2010's final quarter. During 2011, Grainger closed 27 branches at a cost of $18 million (16 cents per share).

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