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A big distributor posts mixed results

It was a mixed year for Global Industrial Co., a big public distributor of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) and industrial supplies.

For the year and quarter ended Dec. 31, Global Industrial grew sales year over year by 9.7% to $1.166 billion from $1.063 billion. Net income was $78.8 million compared with $103.1 million for 2021. Global Industrial says ecommerce accounts for more than 50% of all transactions.

For the fourth quarter, Global Industrial sales were flat at $26.5 million compared with $26.2 million in Q4 2021.

“2022 started off with strong double-digit revenue gains while the second half of the year reflected the impact of increased economic headwinds and a diminishing price benefit as we left price increases taken in mid to late 2021,” CEO Barry Litwin told analysts on the year-end earnings call. “As a result, fourth quarter revenue was off modestly with flat price to volume comparisons from the year-ago period.”

Global Industrial is looking to build sales and profit momentum in large measure by concentrating on new strategies and projects with a big emphasis on digital commerce.

“We continue to elevate the customer experience with the launch of a new website designed to drive personalization,” he said. “We are now optimizing this new platform with enhancements to further improve the digital shopping experience.”

The company also will focus on improvements in supply chain management and delivery.

“Our operations and merchandising teams delivered exceptional availability, reduced back orders and improved lead times during the year,” Litwin told analysts. “In addition, we opened a new distribution center in Toronto that allows us to receive direct imports into Canada, provide for the shipment of more products stuck directly to our customers and foster our continued growth.”

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