CHICAGO (AP) — W.W. Grainger Inc., a supplier of power tools and other industrial equipment, said Wednesday that net income climbed 12 percent in the fourth quarter, helped by higher sales and an expanded product line.
Net income rose to $148.5 million, or $2.04 per share. That translated to $2.13 per share after adjusting for one-time gains and charges, beating expectations of $2.11.
Revenue climbed 14 percent to $2.1 billion, in line with the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.
During the quarter, Grainger enjoyed a one-time gain from selling its stake in a supply business it partially owned in South Korea. It also took a one-time charge related to closing 27 of its 700-plus branches, with most of the closings in the U.S.
Grainger decided to close the branches, a move it announced in November, because more customers were ordering online rather than visiting the physical locations, said spokesman Robb Kristopher. About a quarter of the company's sales for the year were made online.
Most of the roughly 130 employees who worked at the shuttered branches were redeployed in other Grainger jobs, mostly customer service and sales positions to cater to online customers, Kristopher said. The company has about 21,000 employees.
For the full year, net income rose 29 percent and revenue rose 12 percent. Grainger said it expects revenue will grow 10 to 14 percent in 2012, helped by recent acquisitions, new products and expanded online services.
Grainger sells maintenance, repair and operating products, such as welding equipment and generators, mostly to businesses.
Shares were down 2 percent in early trading, to $198.76.