Grainger 1Q Profit Jumps 19 Percent On Higher Sales

Net sales rose 16 percent to $2.19 billion from $1.88 billion, with most of the increase coming from higher sales volumes.

CHICAGO (AP) — W.W. Grainger Inc., a distributor of power tools and other industrial equipment, said Tuesday that its first-quarter profit jumped 19 percent, boosted by a double-digit sales increase.

The earnings beat Wall Street predictions and the company raised its full-year profit and sales guidance.

Chicago-based Grainger reported net income of $187.5 million, or $2.57 per share, for the quarter ended March 31, up from $157.9 million, or $2.18 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Net sales rose 16 percent to $2.19 billion from $1.88 billion, with most of the increase coming from higher sales volumes, along with contributions from acquisition and higher prices.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $2.52 per share on $2.18 billion in sales, according to a FactSet poll.

U.S. sales rose 11 percent to $1.7 billion, while Canadian sales increased 13 percent to $272.9 million. Combined Asia, Europe and Latin America sales more than doubled to $239 million, partially as a result of an acquisition.

Grainger said it expects its earnings to improve as the year progresses and boosted its profit guidance for 2012, saying it now expects to earn between $10.40 and $10.80 per share on sales growth of 12 percent to 14 percent.

Based on the company's 2011 sales of $8.08 billion, the guidance implies 2012 sales of between $9.05 billion and $9.21 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect a 2012 earnings of $10.60 per share on $9.09 billion in sales.

The company previously projected a 2012 profit of between $9.90 and $10.65 per share on sales growth of 10 percent to 14 percent.

Grainger shares rose 69 cents to $216.28 in afternoon trading Tuesday.

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