In a fourth quarter that saw industrial distributors post significantly decelerated growth industrywide, Grainger stood out from the crowd and finished 2022 on a strong note.
The Lake Forest, Illinois-based industrial supplies giant on Feb. 2 reported 4Q sales of $3.8 billion, a 13.2% increase year-over-year and up 17.2% on a daily, constant-currency basis. The 13.2% growth was slower than 3Q’s 16.9%, though that can be attributed to weakening demand that plagued the industry during 4Q.
Grainger’s 4Q sales in its High-Touch Solutions N.A. segment were up 16.8% — or 17.2% on a daily, constant-currency basis — year-over-year, which was driven by strong price realization and continued volume growth, according to a news release. Grainger’s Endless Assortment segment grew 0.9% year-over-year in 4Q, significantly slower than 3Q’s 8.6% growth in the segment. When normalizing for the Japanese Yen’s depreciation, however, Endless Assortment segment sales on a daily, constant-currency basis were 18.2%, according to the release.
The company’s gross profit margin in 4Q was 39.6%, up 230 basis points from 37.3% in 4Q 2021, also a slight increase from 38.5% in 3Q 2022.
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“Our strong 2022 performance was driven by the team’s focused execution against our long-term strategy in a robust demand market,” Grainger Chairman and CEO D.G. Macpherson said in the release. “Both our High-Touch Solutions and Endless Assortment segments delivered above expectations by remaining committed to our purpose, We Keep the World Working. As we look to 2023, we remain focused on delivering value for our customers and strong results for shareholders and team members.”
For the full year, sales grew to $15.2 billion, up 16.9% from 2021, or 19.3% on a daily, constant-currency basis. High-Touch Solutions saw growth of 19.6% in 2022 while Endless Assortment experienced 8.2% growth. Gross profit margin was 38.4%, up 215 basis points versus the prior year.
Grainger ranked as both the No. 1 Industrial Distributor and No. 1 MRO Industrial Distributor on MDM’s 2022 Top Distributors list.