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2015 Top Safety Distributors

W.W. Grainger – Top Safety Distributors

Company Profile

W. W. Grainger logo

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Headquarters: Lake Forest, IL
2014 Revenues: $1.8 billion
Change in Sales from 2013: 6.5%
Employees: 23,600
Locations: 377 branches (U.S.); 181 branches (Canada)
Number of New Locations: 1
2014 Acquisitions: WFS Enterprises
Key Executives: James Ryan, chairman, president & CEO; Court Carruthers, senior vice president & group president, Americas; D. G. Macpherson, senior vice president & group president, global supply chain international; Michael Ali, senior vice president & CIO; Laura Brown, senior vice president, communications & investor relations; Joseph High, senior vice president & chief people officer; John Howard, senior vice president & general counsel; Ron Jadin, senior vice president & CFO

In 2014, about 18 percent of Grainger's total sales was attributable to the safety and security category.

More than one-third (36 percent) of Grainger's total sales came through its e-commerce platform in 2014. The distributor continues to add new features to its website to improve the user experience and to create a uniform experience across platforms. There's no magic trick for improving that experience, says Paul Miller, vice president of global e-commerce, customer information and innovation. “A lot of this gets back to grungy, gnarly data work."

President and CEO Jim Ryan called 2014 a "challenging year," as the company worked to address underperforming businesses. Sales in the U.S., up nearly 7 percent in 2014, were a bright spot for the distributor, while sales in Canada fell 3 percent year-over-year.

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