HardwareMaintenance, Repair & OperationsNews and Events

Grainger Reports Results For The 2020 Second Quarter

CHICAGO, July 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Grainger (NYSE: GWW) today reported results for the 2020 second quarter including sales of $2.8 billion in the quarter driven by significant share gains in the U.S. segment. We estimate the MRO market declined between 14% and 15% in the U.S.

“We remain grounded in our priorities of serving our customers well, helping our customers and team members focus on safety and well-being, and maintaining a strong financial position even in times like these,” said DG Macpherson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “During the second quarter, Grainger performed well. We gained significant share in a down market, fueled by elevated levels of pandemic product sales and improving trends in non-pandemic product sales throughout the quarter. On the cost side, we achieved significant leverage and generated over $75 million of sequential cost reductions contributing to strong operating cash flow and allowing continued investment in the business. The work our team members are doing resonates with our customers and communities and positions Grainger to support our customers and deliver results even in this uncertain time.” 

(1)Results exclude restructuring and income tax items as shown in the supplemental information of this release. Reconciliations of the adjusted measures reflected in this table to the most directly comparable GAAP measures are provided in the supplemental information of this release. During this quarter, the company recorded a $109 million pretax loss from the sale of the Fabory business which was the largest contributor to the decline in reported operating earnings.


Daily sales for the quarter decreased 1.9% as compared to the 2019 second quarter. The sales decline was driven by volume decreases including unfavorable product mix from heightened levels of pandemic-related sales, as well as decreased volume of non-pandemic products. Foreign exchange had a very small, negative impact of 10 basis points in the quarter. The second quarter of 2019 and 2020 had the same number of selling days. 

Gross Profit Margin

Reported and adjusted gross profit margin for the second quarter of 2020 was 35.8%. This compares to reported and adjusted gross profit margin in the second quarter of 2019 of 38.7%. The unfavorable variance continues to be driven primarily by pandemic-related impacts, including product mix and heightened freight expense, that were particularly noticeable in our U.S. segment. The continued business unit mix impact from the faster growth in our lower-margin endless assortment businesses also contributed to the variance.


Reported operating earnings for the 2020 second quarter of $205 million were down 46% versus $380 million in the 2019 second quarter. On an adjusted basis, operating earnings for the quarter of $315 million were down 16% versus $377 million in the 2019 second quarter. During the second quarter, the company recorded a $109 million pretax loss from the sale of the Fabory business, which was the largest contributor to the difference between reported and adjusted operating earnings.

Reported operating margin of 7.3% decreased 590 basis points in the second quarter of 2020 versus the prior year second quarter. Adjusted operating margin of 11.1% in this quarter declined 190 basis points versus the prior year second quarter. The decline in adjusted operating margin was due primarily to lower adjusted gross margin, offset in part by 100 basis points of SG&A leverage.

Reported earnings per share of $2.10 in the second quarter of 2020 was down 55% versus $4.67 in the 2019 second quarter. Adjusted earnings per share in this quarter of $3.75 decreased 19% versus $4.64 in the 2019 second quarter. The decrease in adjusted earnings per share was due primarily to lower operating earnings, which were partially offset by lower average shares outstanding in the current period.

Tax Rate

For the 2020 second quarter, the company’s reported tax rate was 30.2% versus 25.6% in the 2019 second quarter. The difference was primarily related to the impairment and subsequent divestiture of the Fabory business.

Excluding net restructuring, impairment charges and non-recurring income tax items, the adjusted tax rates were 25.8% and 25.5% for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2019, respectively.

Cash Flow

Operating cash flow was $232 million in the 2020 second quarter compared to $323 million in the 2019 second quarter. The decrease in operating cash flow was primarily driven by lower net income and significant investments in working capital, primarily inventory, enabling us to better serve our customers. This was partially offset by the timing of our annual income tax payment. During the second quarter of 2020, Grainger returned $86 million in the form of dividends to shareholders. While we remain committed to returning excess capital to shareholders over time, our share repurchase program remained paused throughout the second quarter of 2020. 


Grainger will conduct a live conference call and webcast at 11:00 a.m. ET on July 23, 2020 to discuss the second quarter results. The webcast will be hosted by DG Macpherson, Chairman and CEO, and Tom Okray, Senior Vice President and CFO, and can be accessed at invest.grainger.com. For those unable to participate in the live event, a webcast replay will be available for 90 days at invest.grainger.com.

About Grainger

W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2019 sales of $11.5 billion, is North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products, with operations primarily in North America, Japan and Europe. For more information about the company, visit invest.grainger.com.

Visit invest.grainger.com to view information about the company, including a supplement regarding 2020 first quarter results. Additional company information can be found on the Grainger Investor Relations website which includes our Fact Book and Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Safe Harbor Statement

All statements in this communication, other than those relating to historical facts, are “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by their use of terms such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “expect,” “could,” “forecast,” “may,” “intend,” “plan,” “predict,” “project” “will” or “would” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future strategic plans and future financial and operating results. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those presented or implied in the forward-looking statements include, without limitation: the unknown duration and the health, economic, operational and financial impacts of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2019 (COVID-19 pandemic) and the actions taken or contemplated by governmental authorities or others in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic on the company’s businesses, its employees, customers and suppliers, including disruption to our operations resulting from employee illnesses, the development and availability of effective treatment or vaccines, the uncertain duration of mandated facility closures of non-essential businesses, stay in shelter health orders or other similar restrictions for customers and suppliers, changes in  customers’ product needs, suppliers’ inability to meet unprecedented demand for COVID-19 related products, the potential for government action to allocate or direct products to certain customers which may cause disruption in relationships with other customers, disruption caused by business responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including working remote arrangements, which may create increased vulnerability to cybersecurity incidents, including breaches of information systems security, adaptions to the Company’s controls and procedures, including financial reporting processes, required by working remote arrangements, which could impact the design or operating effectiveness of such controls or procedures, and global or regional economic downturns or recessions, which could result in a decline in demand for the company’s products or limit the company’s ability to access capital markets on terms that are attractive or at all; higher product costs or other expenses; a major loss of customers; loss or disruption of sources of supply; increased competitive pricing pressures; failure to develop or implement new technology initiatives or business strategies; failure to adequately protect intellectual property or successfully defend against infringement claims; fluctuations or declines in the company’s gross profit percentage; the company’s responses to market pressures; the outcome of pending and future litigation or governmental or regulatory proceedings, including with respect to wage and hour, anti-bribery and corruption, environmental, advertising, consumer protection, pricing (including disaster or emergency declaration pricing  statutes),  product  liability,  safety  or  compliance,  or  privacy  and  cybersecurity  matters;  investigations, inquiries, audits and changes in laws and regulations; failure to comply with laws, regulations and standards; government contract matters; disruption of information technology or data security systems involving the company or third parties on which the company depends; general industry, economic, market or political conditions; general global economic conditions including tariffs and trade issues and policies; currency exchange rate fluctuations; market volatility, including volatility or price declines of the company’s common stock; commodity price volatility; labor shortages; facilities disruptions or shutdowns; higher fuel costs or disruptions in transportation services; pandemic diseases or viral contagions; natural and other catastrophes; unanticipated and/or extreme weather conditions; loss of key members of management; the company’s ability to operate, integrate and leverage acquired businesses; changes in effective tax rates; changes in credit ratings or outlook; the company’s incurrence of indebtedness and other factors which can be found in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent periodic reports filed on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, which are available on our Investor Relations website. Forward-looking statements are given only as of the date of this communication and we disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

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