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Grainger sales, earnings up

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Chicago--Facilities maintenance supplier W.W. Grainger Inc., a b-to-b bellwether, reported first-quarter sales of $1.14 billion, up slightly from $1.13 billion a year earlier. Despite a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $24 million, net earnings climbed 52% to $52 million in the first quarter from $35 million a year earlier. The company said that while its sales were generally softer, it had an 11% increase in sales to government customers and a 4% increase to national accounts. Additionally, daily sales through grainger.com increased 21% to $115 million.
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