Grainger reports flat sales, lower earnings

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Chicago--B-to-b bellwether W.W. Grainger reported flat third-quarter sales of $1.2 billion. Sales declined 1% in the U.S. Net earnings of $56.8 million were down 5% from the same quarter last year.

"We now expect sales for the full year to be essentially flat since revenues are not developing as expected," Grainger Chairman-CEO Richard L. Keyser said in a statement. “Additionally, we are reducing our 2003 earnings per share range to $2.43 to $2.51 due to lower revenues and implementation expenses related to our branch expansion and ongoing cost control programs.”

Last week, Grainger announced a multiyear expansion program designed to increase its market presence in the U.S. The program will begin in Atlanta, Denver and Seattle with larger branches and additional employees. It also plans to add or expand branches in 12 secondary markets.

Sean Callahan

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