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The Lone Grainger
By Stephen D. Simpson, CFA
July 15, 2005

Given a reasonably healthy economy and good results from the likes of MSC Industrial (NYSE: MSM) and Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST), it's hardly surprising that W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) also saw a good second quarter of business.

Sales for this large MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) supplier rose 9% to just under $1.4 billion. The quarterly gross profit margin improved nicely from the year-ago level, climbing to 9.3% from 8.5%, even after the company surrendered a bit of margin to higher SG&A expenses...
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