Grainger May Divest Pieces of Specialty Brands Business

W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW), Lake Forest, Ill., may divest parts of its Specialty Brands portfolio, including Construction Book Express, which sells books for electricians, general contractors, HVAC professionals architect and engineers. The company has already sold substantially all of the assets of another piece of that business, library supplies provider Highsmith, to DEMCO, Inc., the leading provider of solutions to America's libraries and schools. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As part of a strategic review of the Specialty Brands portfolio, Grainger is also assessing the possible divestiture of four additional brands, including: Professional Equipment (serving inspection and construction-related trade professionals); McFeely's (serving professional woodworkers); and Rand (serving material handling needs). In aggregate, these four brands and Highsmith represent approximately one percent of total Grainger revenue.

"Grainger's Specialty Brands provide targeted customer segments with products and services specific to their work or industries," said Ralph Howard, Vice President and General Manager, Grainger Specialty Brands. "These changes support a focus on maintaining a portfolio of specialized brands in growing markets that are strategic to our core offering and leverage Grainger's distribution capabilities. We will continue to invest in the remaining Specialty Brands portfolio including: Lab Safety Supply, Imperial, Gempler's, Ben Meadows and AW Direct, and look for strategic acquisitions to grow the portfolio."


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