Janesville75.9°

Grainger to lay off 50 here

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 12, 2009
— W.W. Grainger said Wednesday it will lay off as many as 400 employees—including 50 in Janesville—as a result of a 9 percent drop in January sales and a bleak outlook for the remainder of the year.

Grainger owns Lab Safety Supply, which employs about 950 in Janesville.


Grainger spokesman Robb Kristopher said the laid-off employees will receive a severance package plus benefit coverage and outplacement services.


"We value our people and want to see that they're taken care of," Kristopher said.


In addition to the layoffs, Grainger will cut hours of part-time workers, eliminate merit increases for executives and salaried employees, reduce travel and relocation expenses and will not fill open positions.


In an effort to prop up Lab Safety Supply, Grainger officials announced in November they would combine their Lab Safety and Grainger Industrial Supply businesses.


While it doesn't manufacture anything, Lab Safety markets and distributes safety and other products to more than 800,000 customers in North America through catalogs, flyers and Web sites targeted to niche markets.


The company is a subsidiary of Grainger, which supplies facilities maintenance products to businesses and institutions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Panama through 600 branches, 18 distribution centers and multiple Web sites.


Officials said combining the two businesses would allow Lab Safety and Grainger Industrial Supply to have one product line, one supply chain, one e-commerce operation, one catalog operation and one sales force, he said.


Kristopher said Wednesday's layoff announcement was primarily the result of poor sales in January rather than a combination of the two businesses.



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