May 31, 2013, 1:02 PM

Grainger plans to beef up its e-commerce staff

The chain retailer will expand its downtown Chicago office.

W.W. Grainger Inc. will add about 300 information technology and e-commerce staffers to its ranks over the next several years, according to an announcement this week from the retail chain, which sells hardware, building maintenance and office supplies.

The employees will work in its downtown Chicago office, which is exclusively focused on e-commerce, rather than its Lake Forest, IL headquarters, which is located about 30 miles north of the city. Grainger last year hired roughly 100 information technology and e-commerce staffers when it opened the Chicago office, it says.

“Expanding our Chicago office enables us to attract the best talent to build upon and enhance our e-commerce platform,” says Jim Ryan, the retailer’s chairman, president and CEO.

In 2012, e-commerce represented 30% of the retailer’s total sales. That total revenue reached $2.7 billion, up from about 23% from $2.2 billion in 2011, it reports. In February, the retailer reported that 10% of its site traffic came from mobile devices. Grainger houses its m-commerce operations within the e-commerce department, which has most of its staffers in the downtown headquarters, a company spokesman says.  

“Our customers are increasingly going online and using mobile to get their jobs done quicker and more efficiently,” says Paul Miller, vice president of e-commerce at Grainger. “Over the next few years, our team will be growing to accommodate and fuel these changing trends.”

Grainger is No. 15 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide. It has 715 store branches and 29 distribution centers worldwide, it says. Last year the company says it booked multiple $9 million or larger U.S. e-commerce sales days.



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