Posted April 19, 2018

Grainger sales up 9 percent in Q1

Grainger reported first-quarter sales of $2.8 billion increased 9 percent versus $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

Net earnings for the quarter of $232 million were up 32 percent versus $175 million in 2017. Earnings per share of $4.07 increased 39 percent versus $2.93 in 2017.

"Results for the quarter were strong, led by increased volume in our U.S. business with both large and medium customers, supported by a strong demand environment. Performance in Canada has improved although we are still in the early stages of the turnaround. Our single channel and international businesses also contributed to the strong performance," said DG Macpherson, chairman and chief executive officer. "We remain confident that the strategic actions we are executing in the United States and Canada are helping us create a stronger business. Based on the encouraging results we're seeing," Macpherson concluded, "we are increasing our sales and EPS guidance for the year."

As a result, the company raised its 2018 sales and earnings per share guidance for the year and now expects sales growth of 5 to 8 percent and earnings per share of $14.30 to $15.30. 

Sales for the U.S. segment increased 8 percent versus the 2017 first quarter. The increase was driven by 9 percentage points from volume growth, 1 percentage point from intercompany sales and 1 percentage point from higher sales of seasonal products, partially offset by a 2 percentage point decline in price and a 1 percentage point decline from the divestiture of a specialty business. Sales to customers in the retail and contractors end markets led the sales performance in the quarter.

First quarter 2018 sales for Canada decreased 2 percent in U.S. dollars and 6 percent in local currency. The 6 percent decrease consisted of a 13 percentage point decline in volume, partially offset by 7 percentage points from higher price.

Sales for the Other Businesses segment increased 18 percent versus the prior year, consisting of 12 percentage points of growth from volume and price and 6 percentage points from foreign exchange. The performance was driven by 24 percent sales growth for the single channel online businesses.