Grainger, Chicago, IL, reported sales of $1.5 billion in the first quarter, up 9% from the first quarter 2006. Profit increased 18% to $102 million.   ; Daily sales increased 8% in January, 10% in February and 9% in March. The company's sales were positively affected by 1 percentage point for strong sales of seasonal products and negatively affected by 1 percentage point as the company unwinds low-margin contracts for automotive and integrated supply customers.   ; Sales in the branch-based segment in the U.S., Mexico and China increased 10% in the first quarter. Daily sales grew by 9% in January, 11% in February and 11% in March.   ; Sales in the U.S. were up 10%. The strongest sales growth in the U.S. came from government customers followed by commercial markets.   ; During the quarter, the company opened two new full-service branches in the U.S., bringing the total number of branches to 440.   ; Acklands-Grainger Sales for the quarter in Canada were up 2% from the same period last year, up 4% in local currency. Sales were stronger in the oil and gas sector partially offset by weakness in mining, forestry and manufacturing industries. Acklands closed one branch during the quarter, ending with 154 branches.   ; Lab Safety Supply Sales for the first quarter were up 5% versus the same period last year. Sales from three acquisitions made during 2006 contributed 6 percentage points to the sales growth.   ; Grainger had sales in 2006 of $5.9 billion. It is a broad-line supplier of facilities maintenance products with nearly 600 branches, 18 distribution centers and multiple Web sites.