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Grainger (NYSE: GWW), Chicago, IL, No. 3 on the list of the top 40 industrial distributors, reported sales were $7.2 billion in 2010, an increase of 15 percent over sales in 2009. Profit increased 19 percent to $511 million.
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For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010, the broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products reported sales of $1.8 billion, an increase of 12 percent versus the same period a year ago. Profit increased 36 percent to $132 million.
The 2010 fourth quarter had one less selling day than the 2009 fourth quarter; 63 days compared with 64 a year ago. Company sales for the quarter increased 12 percent, 14 percent on a daily basis, versus the 2009 quarter. Daily sales increased 11 percent in October, 14 percent in November and 16 percent in December. Oil spill-related sales contributed 2 and 3 percentage points to November and December daily sales, respectively. The 14 percent daily increase for the quarter included a 9 percentage point contribution from volume and a 2 percentage point benefit from oil spill-related sales. Price, acquisitions and foreign exchange each contributed 1percentage point to the daily sales growth for the quarter.
Sales for the United States segment increased 9 percent, 11 percent on a daily basis, in the 2010 fourth quarter versus the prior year. Daily sales were up 8 percent in October, up 10 percent in November and up 14 percent in December. Sales growth acceleration in the quarter was primarily the result of oil spill-related sales.
The 11 percent daily sales growth for the quarter was driven primarily by 7 percent volume growth. All customer end markets within the United States posted sales growth versus the 2009 fourth quarter, led by strong increases in the reseller and manufacturing customer end markets.
Quarterly operating earnings in the United States were up 24 percent versus the prior year, and up 22 percent excluding the change in the paid time off policy.
Sales for the Acklands-Grainger business in Canada increased 20 percent, 15 percent in local currency, for the quarter. On a daily basis, sales were up 22 percent in U.S. dollars and 17 percent in local currency versus the 2009 fourth quarter. Strong volume growth during the quarter contributed 12 percentage points to the sales increase, while acquisitions completed during the last 12 months contributed an additional 5 percentage points.
Daily sales were up 16 percent in October, up 23 percent in November and up 12 percent in December. The sales increase for the quarter in Canada was led by strong growth to customers in the heavy manufacturing, forestry, mining, and oil and gas sectors of the economy, partially offset by a decline in sales to the government.
Operating earnings in Canada decreased 32 percent in the 2010 fourth quarter and were down 35 percent in local currency.
Sales for the Other Businesses, which include operations in Japan, Mexico, India, Colombia, China, Puerto Rico and Panama, were up 48 percent on a daily basis for the 2010 fourth quarter versus prior year. This strong sales increase was due to the incremental sales from the Colombian business acquired in June 2010, combined with solid revenue growth from all the other international businesses.
Operating earnings for the Other Businesses were $5 million for the 2010 fourth quarter compared to a $3 million loss a year ago. This improvement was the result of stronger operating performance for all the businesses in the group, led by Mexico and Japan.