CHICAGO-- Grainger the leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products serving businesses and institutions, held its annual analyst meeting in Lake Forest, Illinois, today. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Ryan, hosted the event. The meeting also included presentations from several other Grainger leaders.
As part of the meeting, Grainger provided the following outlook for sales and earnings in 2010 and 2011:
-- For the 2010 fourth quarter, the company is forecasting sales to increase 8% to 10%, and expects earnings per share for the quarter to be between $1.49 and $1.69, excluding unusual items.
-- For the full year 2010, the company expects sales to increase 14% to 15%, and has narrowed its earnings per share forecast to be between $6.50 and $6.70, excluding unusual items. In October, the company had forecasted 2010 full year EPS of $6.40 to $6.70 on 14% to 15% sales growth.
-- For the full year 2011, the company is forecasting sales to increase 5% to 9%, and expects earnings per share to be between $7.15 and $7.90.
The company also reviewed its long term operating margin objectives. As previously communicated, Grainger expects to expand its operating margin by approximately 50 basis points per year in the context of mid to high single digit organic sales growth. The company established a new long term objective of increasing its operating margin to a range of 14% to 16%, up from the previous objective of 11% to 13%.