An enhanced electrical products offering is a key element of a major product line expansion for W.W. Grainger Inc., Chicago.

To offer easier one-stop shopping for customers, the company will expand the number of products in its famed red catalog to more than 115,000 items, up from 82,000 products. About 6,000 products are being removed from the catalog because of product duplications, said a Grainger spokesperson.

The expanded offering adds 39,000 products, mostly nuts, bolts, screws, nails, rivets and similar products. Grainger said this would be its largest-ever product expansion when its 2006 customer catalog comes out April 3.

Of the 39,000 products, Grainger will add 10,000 products across a variety of categories, including electrical, cleaning, material handling, plumbing and ventilation. Of those 10,000 items, Grainger will add almost 1,000 electrical products.

Of the 1,000 electrical products Grainger is adding to its catalog, 660 are electrical products previously offered exclusively on www.grainger.com for online shopping. Those products include fuses, wiring devices, controls and other products. The catalog will add 324 new electrical products, mostly explosion-proof fittings, said Michael Pulick, vice president of product management for Grainger.

Grainger will carry products in its catalog from a total of 60 new suppliers, including one new electrical supplier.

Expanding the products in the catalog enables Grainger to offer a broad product mix to its customers from one source, said Pulick.

“Our customers are a very broad base of customers, and they buy industrial/commercial/maintenance products to keep their facilities running from tens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of different suppliers. They're looking to consolidate those purchases with one supplier. To do that, it requires someone to have a very broad products line. And that's really the purpose of our expansion — to continue to broaden our product line, which then helps those customers consolidate from a number of suppliers down to one. That ultimately ends up saving them time and money.”

Grainger, with 2005 sales of $5.5 billion, has 400 branches and nine distribution centers in the United States.