Grainger May Sales Up 1%, Though U.S. Continues Decline

U.S. volume decreases continue for Grainger, while its 2015 Cromwell acquisition continues to power strong growth in Europe.

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Grainger — No. 3 on Industrial Distribution's Big 50 List — posted its May sales performance on Monday, led by an overall slight increase year-over-year and continued declines in the U.S.

The company's daily sales increased by 1 percent over May 2015, driven largely by its September 2015 acquisition of U.K.-based Cromwell, which contributed four percentage points to the gain. Excluding acquisitions, Grainger's May organic sales declined 3 percent, driven by a 1 percentage point decrease in volume, a 1 percentage point decline in price and a 1 percentage point negative impact from the wildfires in Alberta.

May 2016 had one more selling day than in 2015.

Grainger's sales decline by 3 percent year-over-year in the U.S., including a 3 percentage point decline in volume and a 1-point decline in price.

U.S. May sales performance by customer end market were:

  • Government, Light Manufacturing and Retail were up in the low single digits
  • Commercial was down in the low single digits
  • Heavy Manufacturing was down in the mid-single digits
  • Contractors was down in the low double digits
  • Resellers was down in the mid-teens
  • Natural Resources was down in the high teens

Sales declined 20 percent in Canada (-15 percent in local currency). Grainger said the decline was driven by a 12 percentage point decline in volume and a 4 percentage point headwind from the fires in Alberta. It said its 115,000 square foot Fort McMurray branch had to be evacuated, and oil sands production in the region has been significantly reduced, along with operations by its customers.

Meanwhile, Grainger's Other Businesses segment increased by 44 percent (up 43 percent in local currencies, up 15 percent organic), driven largely by Cromwell. The gain consisted of 29 points from Cromwell, 14 points from volume and price and a 1-point gain from foreign exchange. Grainger also said business in Mexico grew by double digits in local currency.

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