Chicago, IL - Grainger reported record results for the year ended December 31, 2013. Sales of $9.4 billion increased 5 percent versus $9.0 billion in 2012. Reported net earnings of $797 million increased 16 percent versus $690 million in 2012. Reported earnings per share of $11.13 increased 17 percent versus $9.52 in 2012. The years 2013 and 2012 included the following items:
Twelve Months Ended
Diluted Earnings Per Share as reported:
Charge for U.S. branch closures
Diluted Earnings Per Share as adjusted:
Note: Information regarding the adjustments is detailed in the discussion of the 2013 fourth quarter.
"Despite a sluggish economic environment and aggressive investments in growth and infrastructure, this was another record year for Grainger," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan. "We made significant investments aimed directly at increasing our scale and accelerating share gains in the large and highly fragmented MRO market. Going forward, we will continue to invest in areas such as eCommerce, sales force expansion, inventory management solutions and distribution centers in order to drive market share growth and deliver solid returns," Ryan added.
"As evidenced by the restructuring in the quarter, we have some areas of the business that are not performing to our expectations. We are committed to improving the results and are taking the appropriate steps to strengthen the performance of these businesses," Ryan concluded.
The company also updated its 2014 earnings per share guidance to $12.10 to $12.85 from $12.25 to $13.00 and its 2014 sales guidance to 5 to 9 percent growth from 6 to 10 percent growth from the previous guidance issued on November 13, 2013. This change is largely due to a weaker Canadian dollar in recent months and the divestiture of a number of the direct marketing Specialty Brands that were sold on December 31, 2013.
During 2013, the company invested an incremental $132 million to drive growth and scale, primarily in the United States, and reached the following milestones:
- eCommerce: Grainger surpassed $3 billion in eCommerce sales in 2013, representing 33 percent of total company sales. eCommerce represents the fastest growing and most profitable channel in the business. The company also transitioned to a new web platform, launched a Spanish website and introduced innovative mobile solutions.
- Sales Force Expansion: In the United States, Grainger added 180 new sales representatives in 2013. Since 2009, Grainger has added 930 new U.S. sales representatives who, in aggregate, contributed approximately 1 percentage point of company sales growth in 2013. In general, sales to customers with a sales representative grow at twice the rate of customers that are not covered.
- Inventory Management: Total U.S. KeepStock installations, including vendor managed inventory, customer managed inventory and vending machines, grew 38 percent, ending the year at approximately 55,000 installations. Sales to customers with a KeepStock installation grow at twice the rate of non-KeepStock customers.
- Product Line Expansion: In the Grainger U.S. business, Grainger.com added more than 300,000 new products, bringing the total number of products to more than 1.2 million products online. In Canada, Acklands-Grainger announced the addition of 200,000 products to its online offering. A broader product line enables customers to increase productivity by consolidating their supplier base.
- Distribution Network: Grainger enhanced its North America distribution center network to accommodate growth and increase scale. The company opened a 1 million square-foot highly automated distribution center in Illinois that serves as the company's new central stocking facility. Grainger also began construction on a 500,000 square-foot distribution center in the Toronto area.
- Single Channel Online Model: MonotaRO, the online business in Japan, grew nearly 20 percent in local currency in 2013 and was named to the Forbes® Asia "Best Under A Billion" list, which highlights 200 of the best small and mid-sized companies in Asia Pacific. Revenue for the company's other online business, Zoro Tools, grew more than 150 percent in 2013.
For the full year, the company generated $986 million in operating cash flow versus $816 million in 2012. Capital expenditures for the year were $272 million versus $250 million in 2012, driven primarily by investments to expand the distribution center network in North America. The company also funded $154 million in acquisitions. For the full year, Grainger bought back approximately 1.7 million shares of stock for $438 million and has 3.6 million shares remaining under the current repurchase authorization. Dividends paid in 2013 totaled $255 million. For the full year, Grainger returned $693 million in cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.
2013 Fourth Quarter
Sales for the 2013 fourth quarter of $2.4 billion increased 7 percent versus $2.2 billion in the 2012 fourth quarter. Net earnings of $157 million were essentially flat versus $156 million in 2012. Fourth quarter earnings per share of $2.20 increased 1 percent versus $2.17 in 2012. The 2013 and 2012 fourth quarters included the following items:
Three Months Ended
Diluted Earnings Per Share as reported:
Charge for U.S. branch closures
Diluted Earnings Per Share as adjusted:
During the quarter, the company recorded non-cash impairment charges primarily for goodwill, totaling $0.29 per share, of which $0.18 per share related to the business in Brazil and $0.11 per share related to Grainger Lighting Services in the United States. As a result of lowered performance expectations for these businesses, the fair value of these businesses was less than the carrying value, resulting in an impairment charge. The company also incurred restructuring charges of $0.10 per share related to improving the long-term performance of the businesses in Europe and China. These items combined in the 2013 fourth quarter represented a $0.39 reduction to earnings per share, resulting in adjusted EPS of $2.59. In the 2012 fourth quarter, the company recorded impairment and restructuring charges totaling $0.25, resulting in adjusted EPS of $2.42. Excluding items noted above from both years, company net earnings for the quarter increased 6 percent and earnings per share increased 7 percent versus the prior year.
Company sales in the 2013 fourth quarter increased 7 percent. There were 64 selling days in both the 2013 and 2012 fourth quarters. The 7 percent sales growth for the quarter consisted of 5 percentage points from volume, 4 percentage points from acquisitions and 1 percentage point from sales of seasonal products, partially offset by 2 percentage points decline from unfavorable foreign exchange and 1 percentage point from sales related to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The company's gross profit margin for the quarter decreased 130 basis points, driven by lower gross margins from the acquired businesses, accounting for approximately two-thirds of the decline, and faster growth with lower margin customers.
Company operating earnings of $257 million for the 2013 fourth quarter were down 1 percent versus the 2012 quarter. Excluding the items noted in the table above from both years, company operating earnings increased 3 percent. This increase was driven by the 7 percent sales growth and operating expense leverage as expenses, including $31 million in incremental growth-related spending, grew at a slower rate than sales. E&R Industrial, acquired on August 23, 2013, outperformed original expectations and was slightly accretive to earnings in the quarter. Acquisitions made in the United States during the last 13 months, including E&R, are contributing to Grainger's ability to reach the plant floor and increase its share of wallet with customers in the manufacturing space.
The company has two reportable business segments, the United States and Canada, which represented approximately 89 percent of company sales for the quarter. The remaining operating units located primarily in Asia, Europe, and Latin America are included in Other Businesses and are not reportable segments.
Sales in the United States segment increased 10 percent in the 2013 fourth quarter versus the prior year. The 10 percent sales growth was driven by 5 percentage points from volume, 6 percentage points from sales from the E&R Industrial, Techni-Tool and Safety Solutions acquisitions and 1 percentage point from sales of seasonal products, partially offset by a 1 percentage point decline from price and 1 percentage point from unfavorable comparison to sales related to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Strong sales growth to customers in the manufacturing, retail, natural resources and commercial customer end markets contributed to the sales increase in the quarter.
Operating earnings for the United States segment increased 6 percent in the quarter driven by the 10 percent sales growth and positive expense leverage, partially offset by lower gross profit margins. Positive expense leverage was driven by the 10 percent sales growth versus a 5 percent increase in operating expenses including $28 million in incremental growth-related spending. Gross profit margins for the quarter decreased 180 basis points driven by lower gross margins from the acquired businesses, which accounted for approximately two-thirds of the decrease, and faster growth with lower margin customers. Excluding the charges for the United States segment in the 2013 and 2012 fourth quarters, operating earnings increased 7 percent for the 2013 fourth quarter.
Sales in the 2013 fourth quarter at Acklands-Grainger decreased 3 percent and increased 3 percent in local currency. The 3 percent sales decline consisted of 3 percentage points increase from volume offset by a 6 percentage points decline from unfavorable foreign exchange. The sales increase in Canada was led by growth to customers in the commercial, transportation, light manufacturing and forestry end markets.
Operating earnings in Canada decreased 10 percent in the 2013 fourth quarter, down 5 percent in local currency. This decrease was driven by lower gross profit margins, unfavorable foreign exchange and negative expense leverage. The gross profit margin in Canada declined 20 basis points versus the prior year. The decline was primarily due to product cost inflation exceeding price inflation driven by unfavorable foreign exchange. Contributing to the lower operating performance was approximately $2 million in incremental spending related to IT system investments.
Sales for the Other Businesses, which includes operations primarily in Asia, Europe and Latin America, increased 3 percent for the 2013 fourth quarter versus the prior year. This performance consisted of 11 percentage points of growth from volume and price, partially offset by an 8 percentage point decline from unfavorable foreign exchange. Sales growth in the Other Businesses was driven by Zoro Tools and the business in Mexico. Strong sales growth in Japan was offset by the weakness in the Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar.
The Other Businesses posted a $20 million operating loss in the 2013 fourth quarter versus a $10 million operating loss in the 2012 fourth quarter. During the quarter, the company recorded impairment charges related to the business in Brazil and implemented structural changes to the businesses in Europe and China, resulting in a $23 million charge. In the 2012 fourth quarter, the company recognized restructuring charges of $14 million for the Other Businesses. Excluding these charges from both years, the Other Businesses would have generated $3 million in operating earnings in both the 2013 and 2012 fourth quarters. Strong operating performance from Zoro Tools offset lower performance from most of the other businesses. In addition, the business in Japan generated strong earnings growth in local currency which was more than offset by unfavorable foreign exchange.
Other income and expense was a net expense of $2 million in the 2013 fourth quarter versus net expense of $5 million in the 2012 fourth quarter. This decrease was primarily attributable to lower average borrowings and lower average interest rates on the debt in the 2013 fourth quarter versus the 2012 quarter.
For the quarter, the effective tax rate in 2013 was 37.3 percent versus 37.6 percent in 2012. For the full year 2013, the effective tax rate was 37.3 percent versus 37.5 percent in 2012. The company is currently projecting an effective tax rate of 37.4 to 37.8 percent for the year 2014.
Operating cash flow was $246 million in the 2013 fourth quarter versus $240 million in the 2012 fourth quarter. The company used the cash generated during the quarter to invest in the business, fund acquisitions and return cash to shareholders through share repurchase and dividends. Capital expenditures were $124 million in the 2013 fourth quarter versus $95 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. In the 2013 fourth quarter, Grainger returned $226 million to shareholders through $67 million in dividends and $159 million to buy back 606,000 shares of stock.