CHICAGO, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Grainger (NYSE: GWW), the leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products serving businesses and institutions, held its Annual Analyst Meeting in Lake Forest, Illinois, today. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan, hosted the event. The meeting also included presentations from several other Grainger leaders.
As part of the meeting, Grainger provided the following outlook for sales and earnings in 2011 and 2012:
- For the 2011 fourth quarter, the company is forecasting sales to increase 12% to 13%, and expects earnings per share for the quarter to be between $1.94 and $2.09, excluding unusual items. The company also announced today that it intends to close 25 branches in the United States before year end, and expects to incur a charge of approximately $14 to $18 million, or $0.12 to $0.15 per share, which is excluded from fourth quarter and 2011 guidance.
- For the full year 2011, the company reiterated its sales growth forecast of 11% to 12%, and narrowed its earnings per share forecast to be between $8.85 and $9.00, excluding unusual items. The company's prior 2011 full year EPS forecast of $8.80 to $9.00 was issued on October 18th in conjunction with its third quarter 2011 earnings release.
- For the full year 2012, the company is forecasting sales to increase 10% to 14%, and expects earnings per share to be between $9.90 and $10.65. Organic sales growth for 2012 is forecasted at 6% to 10%.
The company also reviewed its longer term operating margin objectives. Grainger reiterated its operating margin expansion target of approximately 50 basis points per year when organic sales grow in the mid to high single digits, and raised its long term operating margin target to a range of 15% to 17%, up from the previous objective of 14% to 16%.
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