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

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), W.W. Grainger met expectations on revenues and beat slightly on earnings per share.

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

Gross margins grew, operating margins were steady, net margins increased.

Revenue details
W.W. Grainger booked revenue of $2.19 billion. The 14 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ foresaw sales of $2.19 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 16% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.88 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $2.57. The 17 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated $2.52 per share. GAAP EPS of $2.57 for Q1 were 18% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.18 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 44.4%, 40 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 13.9%, about the same as the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 8.5%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.30 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $2.66.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $9.13 billion. The average EPS estimate is $10.71.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 222 members out of 242 rating the stock outperform, and 20 members rating it underperform. Among 86 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 80 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 hold, with an average price target of $208.92.

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.