Posted February 3, 2021

Grainger finishes challenging year with 2.7 percent sales gain

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, Grainger finished 2020 with sales of $11.8 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent from $11.5 million in 2019.

Top-line growth was driven by substantial share gains in the U.S. segment and continued strong growth in the endless assortment businesses.

Net earnings of $695 million, or $12.82 per diluted share, declined from $877 million, or $16.18 per share, in 2019. The earnings decline primarily resulted from charges in the first half of the year related to the divested Fabory business.

"2020 was a year filled with challenges and uncertainty. I'm proud of how the Grainger team made quick, prudent decisions to best serve our customers, keep our employees safe, and remain in a strong financial position. In both the full-year and fourth quarter 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we delivered solid top-line growth by gaining significant share in the U.S. and delivering impressive growth in our endless assortment businesses. In addition, we managed SG&A spending below the prior year while continuing to generate significant operating cash flow," said DG Macpherson, chairman and chief executive officer. 

For the fourth quarter, sales of $2.9 billion were up 3.3 percent from $2.8 billion in the same period last year.

Net earnings of $168 million in the quarter, or $3.12 per share, improved from earnings of $103 million, or $1.88 per share, in last year's fourth quarter.