W. W. Grainger Inc., Lake Forest, Ill., reported an 8% sales increase for its 3Q sales to $2.3 billion, but also announced that during the third quarter it had recorded a $70 million pre-tax reserve for a settlement in principle to resolve pricing disclosure issues relating to government contracts with General Services Administration (GSA) and United States Postal Service (USPS). The proposed settlement, which covers 12 years of sales to the GSA and 10 years of sales to the USPS, remains subject to the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In addition, the company has established a $6 million pre-tax reserve for resolving tax, freight and miscellaneous billing issues with these government customers.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan said in the press release, “We delivered a solid quarter, with stronger organic sales growth in September than in August and continued to gain market share, expand margins and generate nearly $100 million in operating cash flow over the prior year. We are also resolving an ongoing dispute with the GSA and USPS and are pleased to be near final settlement with the DOJ. We value our long-standing relationship with these important federal government customers and look forward to continuing to expand the products and services we provide to them in the future."