Kicking butt in the downturn

W.W. Grainger Inc. last Wednesday reported an 18% drop in second-quarter profit but said it was able to carve out market-share gains even as the economy is showing no signs of a rebound.

Apple® announced financial results for its fiscal 2009 third quarter ended June 27, 2009. The Company posted revenue of $8.34 billion and a net quarterly profit of $1.23 billion. These results compare to revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion  in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 36.3 percent, up from 34.8 percent in the year-ago quarter. “We’re making our most innovative products ever and our customers are responding,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

I spoke to a CEO a couple of weeks ago whose market is down 90%. His business is off 60%. Does that feel good? No way. Is that good? Better believe it. He is likely to survive this downturn, many of his competitors will not.

In a downturn, focus on gaining market share. Grainger, Apple, Ford and others are gaining market share. Some, like Apple, are seeing an increase in sales most are not. But if you gain market share and keep your costs in line, when this recession is over, you will be on top while your former competitors are left wondering what happened.


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