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Chicago-based Grainger (NYSE: GWW), the broadline supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, has sold library supplies provider Highsmith, previously maintained under Grainger's U.S. Specialty Brands portfolio, to DEMCO Inc., Madison, WI, provider of products and services to libraries and schools.
Grainger bought Highsmith in 2008.
As part of a strategic review of the Specialty Brands portfolio, Grainger is also assessing the possible divestiture of four additional brands, including:
- Professional Equipment (serving inspection and construction-related trade professionals)
- Construction Book Express (serving general contractors, electricians, HVAC professionals, engineers and architects)
- McFeely's (serving professional woodworkers)
- Rand (serving material handling needs)
These four brands and Highsmith represent 1 percent of total Grainger revenue.
"Grainger's Specialty Brands provide targeted customer segments with products and services specific to their work or industries," said Ralph Howard, vice president and general manager, Grainger Specialty Brands. "These changes support a focus on maintaining a portfolio of specialized brands in growing markets that are strategic to our core offering and leverage Grainger's distribution capabilities. We will continue to invest in the remaining Specialty Brands portfolio including: Lab Safety Supply, Imperial, Gempler's, Ben Meadows and AW Direct, and look for strategic acquisitions to grow the portfolio."
"Grainger's successful integration of Specialty Brands with Grainger's U.S. business has provided the opportunity to reassess our portfolio and better position the growth potential of Specialty Brands," said Mike Pulick, president of Grainger's U.S. Business. "Specialty Brands remain an important part of our U.S. business, expanding our reach with select niche customers beyond those we serve with Grainger's broadline offering."
Grainger had 2009 sales of $6.2 billion.
DEMCO provides product and service solutions to libraries and schools to help them better meet the needs of their communities. Products include supplies, equipment, furniture and technology including an interior design service for libraries and schools. DEMCO is a subsidiary of Wall Family Enterprise, a family-owned business including five other library and education-focused companies based in the U.S. and United Kingdom.