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2013 Top 10 HVACR/Plumbing Distributors

09. W.W. Grainger - Top HVACR/Plumbing Distributors

Company Profile

W. W. Grainger logo


Headquarters: Lake Forest, IL
2012 Revenues: $540 million (HVAC)
Change in Sales from 2011: -4.8%
Employees: 22,413
Locations: 369 branches, 15 distribution centers (U.S.); 172 branches, 6 distribution centers (Canada); 19 branches, 1 distribution center (Mexico)
2012 Acquisitions: Techni-Tool & affiliate Wassco Inc.
Key Executives: James T. Ryan, chairman, president and CEO; Laura D. Brown, senior vice president, communications and investor relations; Court D. Carruthers, Grainger U.S. president; Timothy M. Ferrarell, CIO; Joseph C. High, Chief People Officer; John L. Howard, general counsel; Ron Jadin, CFO; D G Macpherson, president, global supply chain & corporate strategy; Michael A. Pulick, Grainger International president

Acklands-Grainger in Canada (included in Grainger’s total revenues) hit the $1 billion revenue mark in 2012.

Grainger (NYSE: GWW) reports that its market share is about 6 percent in the global MRO market. Its plan is to continue to grow organically and by acquisition. It now offers more than 570,000 SKUs in its U.S. catalog. Other than product expansion, Grainger’s growth drivers include expanding its sales force and building out inventory management services through its KeepStock program. E-commerce is also critical for Grainger, with more than 30 percent of company sales, or $2.7 billion, coming through its online platform. Grainger also launched a mobile website in late 2011. Mobile sales grew more than 50 percent quarter-over-quarter for the final three quarters of 2012, and accounted for 5 percent of Grainger’s website traffic and more than 20 percent of all online searches. Grainger’s mobile app was launched in 2012.

Grainger has made significant investments in its distribution center network. In 2012, it doubled the size of a DC in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and purchased land for a new DC outside of Toronto. Grainger’s new central stocking distribution center outside of Chicago began operations in 2012, storing up to 500,000 items. Grainger also opened an 820,000-square-foot distribution center in northern California, providing next-day service to customers on much of the West Coast.

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