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Grangier says sales improved in August

CHICAGO (AP) -- W.W. Grainger sales improved in August as a bump from acquisitions and sales volume helped offset declining seasonal products.

The Chicago company, which sells power tools and other industrial equipment, said that daily sales increased 4 percent compared with August of last year. That included 5 percentage points gain from sales volume and 1 percentage point from acquisitions, which partially offset a 1 percentage point decline from lower sales of seasonal products and a 1 percentage point decline from unfavorable foreign exchange.

Sales rose 5 percent in the U.S. Based on local currencies, sales in Canada fell 1 percent and increased 5 percent in other foreign markets.

Sales were in line with projections by Janney Capital Markets. Analyst John Baliotti believes the sluggish macro-economic environment provides Grainger with a chance to grow given the types of customers it serves and fragmentation of its competition. He reiterated his "Buy" rating on company shares.

Shares of W.W. Grainger Inc. fell 93 cents to $268.76 by midday, roughly in line with broader market activity.