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Grainger First Quarter Sales Up 13%

Grainger (NYSE: GWW), Chicago, IL, reported sales for the first quarter of 2011 were $1.9 billion, an increase of 13 percent versus first quarter 2010. Profit increased 59 percent to $158 million.

"Expanding product lines, providing new services that complement our products, investing further in e-commerce and increasing our sales force, are all contributing to gaining market share in North America," said Jim Ryan, president and CEO. "In addition, we're continuing to push into high-growth, emerging markets and the yield on these investments is improving."

During the quarter, daily sales for the company increased 11 percent: 10 percent in January, 11 percent in February and 12 percent in March. Volume increased 7 percent while price contributed 2 percentage points for the quarter. Foreign exchange and acquisitions each contributed 1 percentage point to the daily increase.

Sales for the United States segment increased 9 percent to $1.5 billion in the 2011 first quarter. On a daily basis, sales increased 7 percent, driven by a 5 percentage point contribution from volume and 2 percentage points from price. Sales to all customer end-markets were up in the quarter, led by heavy manufacturing, which increased in the high teens.

Sales for Acklands-Grainger, Grainger's Canadian segment, were $242.4 million, an increase of 25 percent in US dollars versus the 2010 first quarter. Sales in Canada benefited from strength in the heavy manufacturing, agriculture and mining, forestry, oil and gas, transportation and government customer end-markets.

Sales for the Other Businesses, which include Japan, Mexico, India, Puerto Rico, China, Colombia and Panama, increased 44 percent versus prior year to $116.9 million, due primarily to strong growth in Japan and Mexico, along with the business in Colombia, which was acquired in June 2010. Although smaller in size, the remaining four businesses also posted strong sales growth in the quarter.

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