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Grainger issues layoff notices

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JAMES P. LEUTE
February 1, 2012
— About 20 Grainger employees in Janesville learned Tuesday that their positions would disappear as the company returns its focus to core offerings and distribution capabilities.

The affected employees work directly with the company's Lab Safety brand, which originated in Janesville.


Lake Forest, Ill.-based Grainger said last year it planned to sell some of its specialty brands to focus more closely on Grainger, the company's largest and most profitable brand.


That process has been going on for months, and the company hasn't finalized a sale or announced a buyer.


Specifically, Grainger is selling brands including Gempler's, Ben Meadows, McFeely's, Rand, Professional Equipment and Construction Book Express.


Employees were briefed Tuesday about the pending sale as well as the integration of


the Lab Safety brand into Grainger.


"A small number were told that their current role will not exist in the future," said company spokeswoman Kelly France. "The vast majority will continue in their current roles."


France said laid-off employees have three options: They can apply for a job with Grainger after the Lab Safety integration is complete, apply for a job with the new owner of the specialty brands or take a severance package.


"As we continue to work through this process, Grainger as a company remains committed to treating our team members with respect," she said.


In Janesville, Grainger employs about 800 people.



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