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2015 Top 25 Electrical Distributors

09. W.W. Grainger – Top 25 Electrical Distributors

Company Profile

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Headquarters: Lake Forest, IL
2014 Revenues: $1.1 billion
Change in Sales from 2013: 10%
Employees: 23,600
Number of New Locations: 1
2014 Acquisitions: WFS Enterprises
Key Executives: James Ryan, chairman, president & CEO; Court Carruthers, SVP & group president, Americas; D. G. Macpherson, SVP & group president, global supply chain international; Michael Ali, SVP & CIO; Laura Brown, SVP, communications & investor relations; Joseph High, SVP & chief people officer; John Howard, SVP & general counsel; Ron Jadin, SVP & CFO

In 2014, about 11 percent of Grainger's total sales came from electrical and lighting products.

More than one-third (36 percent) of Grainger's total sales in 2014 came through its e-commerce platform. 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."

Safety products is one of the key areas being targeted by Grainger in 2015. Grainger recently launched its online Safety Resource Center to help customers identify and prevent workplace hazards. It also continues to expand its field safety specialist team nationwide. Safety and security products currently make up about 18 percent of Grainger's product mix – the largest individual category for the distributor.

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. 

Grainger now has 592,000 SKUs in its U.S. catalog, according to its 2015 Factbook, and 1.5 million products available company-wide.

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