January 29, 2013, 10:54 AM

W.W. Grainger boosts web sales 23% in 2012

The online channel now accounts for nearly a third of total sales.

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It was a record year online and offline for industrial and office supplies retailer W.W. Grainger Inc.

For the year ending Dec. 31, Grainger, No. 15 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Web sales of $2.7 billion, a 23% increase compared with about $2.2 billion in 2011.
  • Total sales increased about 11% to $9.0 billion from $8.1 billion last year.
  • Net income of $690 million, a 4.9% increase compared with $658 million.
  • Capital expenditures were $250 million, up 27% from $197 million in 2011. Grainger says the increase was mostly due to expansion of its distribution network.

Online sales represented 30.0% of total sales for the year, compared with 27.2%in 2011.

“It was a record year for Grainger,” says president and CEO Jim Ryan. “For the full year, we invested an additional $70 million in expanding our product line and sales force, enhancing e-commerce capabilities, increasing inventory management services and expanding our international presence.”

Grainger has said it plans to invest $40 million through 2014 in building out its e-commerce presence, as it expects the online channel to represent 40% of total sales within the next few years.

Grainger did not break out fourth quarter e-commerce sales, but did report:

  • Total sales of $2.23 billion, a 7.2% increase from $2.08 billion in the 4th quarter of 2011
  • Net income of $156 million, a 5.4% increase compared with $148 million. 
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