W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) reported earnings on Jan. 25. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), W.W. Grainger met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue improved, and earnings per share increased.

Gross margins expanded, operating margins contracted, net margins dropped.

Revenue details
W.W. Grainger recorded revenue of $2.08 billion. The 14 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for revenue of $2.08 billion. Sales were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.83 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $2.13. The earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged $2.12 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $2.04 for Q4 were 12% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.83 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 43.6%, 180 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 10.7%, 110 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 7.1%, 10 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.12 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $2.43.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $8.92 billion. The average EPS estimate is $10.39.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 211 members out of 228 rating the stock outperform, and 17 members rating it underperform. Among 93 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 87 give W.W. Grainger a green thumbs-up, and six give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on W.W. Grainger is outperform, with an average price target of $186.62.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.