The company reported better-than-expected revenue and adjusted profit growth for the first quarter but also narrowed its annual sales and profit guidance for the rest of the year due to a forecasted increase in pricing pressure.
Grainger said it anticipates flat to 6% sales growth and earnings per share of $11 to $12.80. Previously, the company forecasted sales growth of between a 1% decline to 7% growth and per-share earnings of $10.80 to $13.
For some company followers, there weren't many positives to glean from the day's release.
"In terms of the big picture here, the overall outlook remains very much uncertain," one analyst who requested anonymity due to his firm's compliance restrictions told TheStreet on Monday. "I think the easy money has already been made on this name."
But if you focus your sights beyond the day's gloomy news, there may be reason to hold on to shares of Grainger, according to another company follower.
Gabelli & Co. analyst Justin Bergner said if certain of Grainger's relatively newer assets were better known by the market, the company could be valued closer to $275 per share than its Monday open of $235 a share.
Bergner said Grainger's single channel e-commerce assets, Zoro Inc. and MonotaRO Co. Ltd., which sell maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies in North American and Japan, respectively, are currently undervalued by the market.
The e-commerce assets are poised to deliver 10% of Grainger's sales this year and maintain sustainable growth rates into the double digits for several years to come, the company follower noted.
While Grainger's shares had fallen $4 to about $231 per share midday Monday, the stock has rebounded more than 26% in the past 3 months.
And while analysts agree that pricing and gross margins in this sector will continue to face pressure in 2016, Bergner said the silver lining for Grainger could be those undervalued assets, which he feels will gain traction in the market as the businesses grow.
"I continue to recommend Grainger. There is a lot of value attached to their e-commerce assets," he said. "I do think as these businesses get larger and the company provides more operating data, investors are going to start valuing them separately from the legacy multichannel business."