Grainger Earnings Jump 50% in Q1

The distributor raised its full-year forecast despite “inflationary and supply chain challenges.”

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W.W. Grainger Inc.

Industrial supply giant W.W. Grainger reported sharply higher sales and earnings in its latest fiscal quarter, which prompted the company to raise its expectations for the full year.

The distributor said Thursday that net sales for the first quarter of 2022 increased 18% to $3.6 billion compared to the same quarter last year, while operating earnings jumped nearly 50% over that span to $534 million. Gross profit reached nearly $1.4 billion — up 27% — while its gross margin climbed 245 basis points to 37.9%.

Company officials attributed the results to particularly strong performances from its High-Touch Solutions and Endless Assortment segments. High-Touch Solutions, the company said, lapped a $55 million pre-tax pandemic inventory adjustment in the first quarter of 2021.

"We continued to execute against our key growth initiatives, drive operational excellence and strengthen our culture," Grainger Chairman and CEO DG Macpherson said in a statement. "Despite the ongoing inflationary and supply chain challenges, we are well-positioned for a successful year."

The company now expects 2022 net sales of between $14.5 billion to $14.9 billion, up from its original projection of $14.1 billion to $14.5 billion. Its growth forecast, meanwhile, climbed from 7.5% to 10.5% to the current 11% to 14%.

Grainger on Wednesday announced a 6% increase in its quarterly dividend and said shareholders elected 12 directors to the company's board at its annual meeting, which was again held virtually.

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