Grainger (NYSE: GWW), Chicago, on Friday reported first-quarter sales of $3.1 billion, up 2.8% compared to the year-ago quarter, or 5.9% on an organic daily basis compared to the first quarter of 2020 (excluding divestitures and foreign exchange).
Grainger’s profit increased 37.6% to $238 million, while diluted earnings per share of $4.48 were up from $3.19 in 1Q 2020 and beat analysts’ estimates by 18 cents.
“The Grainger team served customers exceptionally well and delivered strong results in the first quarter as the economy continued to recover,” said DG Macpherson, chairman and CEO. “In our High Touch Solutions (N.A.) segment, we are seeing sequential revenue improvement in nearly all end markets, recovery in non-pandemic product volume, and stabilizing gross profit margins after adjusting for non-core pandemic inventory. Our Endless Assortment segment continues to deliver over 20% top line growth and improved earnings as expected. Our strong performance in the first quarter gives us the confidence to now provide guidance for the full year.”
The company said sales growth was fueled by both the High-Touch Solutions (N.A.) and Endless Assortment segments.
In the High-Touch Solutions (N.A.) segment, despite challenging comparisons starting in mid-February with the accelerated pandemic sales of 2020, sales were up 1.8%, and 3.4% on a daily basis versus the prior-year quarter.
In the Endless Assortment segment, both Zoro U.S. and MonotaRO continued to drive strong customer acquisition throughout the quarter, resulting in a combined 27.4% daily sales growth compared to the first quarter of 2020.