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Grainger dominated this year's list of MDM's top 10 most-read news stories, taking the No. 1 spot and accounting for seven of the 10 stories on the list. Grainger's acquisitions, portfolio and structural realignments, and e-commerce developments were watched closely by many readers this year.
Other headline makers included Motion Industries, HD Supply and Sysco.
Here are the Top 10 distribution news stories from 2013:
1. Grainger Lays Plans to Add 300 New E-Commerce Hires
E-commerce accounted for $2.7 billion in sales for Grainger in 2012, representing 30 percent of company sales and an increase of 23 percent from the prior year. In May, Grainger announced plans to expand Chicago’s Citigroup Center, which supports the distributor’s planned IT and e-commerce team growth.
2. Grainger Acquires E&R Industrial Sales
Grainger added metalworking expertise and extended its service capabilities for manufacturing customers when it acquired E&R Industrial Sales in August. Court Carruthers, then-president of Grainger U.S., said the acquisition would make it easier for customers to consolidate their MRO purchases with Grainger.
3. Motion Industries Makes Acquisitions in U.S., Canada
In December, Motion acquired Paragon Service & Supply, an industrial distributor in Lima, OH and agreed to acquire Commercial Solutions Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta.
4. Grainger Modifies Structure, Forms Americas Business
Grainger modified its structure in August, creating a new business that includes Canada, the U.S., Mexico and other South American countries. The business formation came with a handful of executive changes, including the naming of Court Carruthers, previously president of Grainger U.S., as group president for the Americas.
5. Grainger Launches New Web Platform, iPad App
Grainger's new Web platform, announced in November, integrates the customer purchase experience across multiple channels including branches, mobile, its website and KeepStock, the company's inventory management solution.
6. Grainger Acquires Safety Solutions
Grainger acquired Safety Solutions in early December, gaining a distributor of safety footwear, supplies and services. The acquisition extended Grainger's capabilities with the addition of an on-site safety footwear service.
7. Grainger to Sell More Specialty Brands, Complete Portfolio Realignment
Among the flurry of Grainger-related news in the fourth quarter was the announcement that Grainger had agreed to sell its Gempler's, Ben Meadows and AW Direct brands. Grainger previously announced that direct marketing brands in the specialty brands portfolio were no longer a part of the company's long-term focus.
8. HD Supply Completes Initial Public Offering
Six years after being sold off from Home Depot, HD Supply launched its initial public offering in June. HD Supply, which is No. 3 on MDM’s list of the Top 40 Industrial Distributors, is now listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol HDS.
9. Grainger Opens Branch to Support Customers in Bakken Oil Fields
The flurry of development activity in the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota led Grainger to open a new branch in Williston, ND. The new branch stocks thousands of products, with inventory tailored to businesses operating in the Bakken oil fields, with a particular focus on safety products and training.
10. Sysco Agrees to Acquire US Foods for $3.5 Billion
In one of the largest distribution deals in 2013, Sysco Corp. agreed to acquired US Foods for $3.5 billion. Bill DeLaney, Sysco president and CEO, said Sysco and US Foods have highly complementary core strengths, including a broad product portfolio and a committed staff. Increased geographic coverage and scale is also expected to enhance flexibility and responsiveness.