Benfield Electric Supply Co., Inc., White Plains, N.Y., increased its presence in the highly competitive Manhattan area with the purchase of Central Electrical Supply Corp., New York, N.Y., for an undisclosed sum. Benfield bought all of Central's operations, including the operating division serving the city's elevator market.

Benfield is consolidating Central's Manhattan and Queens locations into a renovated, 63,000-sq-ft warehouse in Long Island City, a community in the Queens borough. Central's Queens operations have already moved to the facility, and all area operations, including data/communications inventory should be there in March 1998, said Roy C. Kohli, Benfield chief executive officer.

Kohli declined to disclose Central's 1997 sales figures. Benfield's fiscal year ended with $54 million in sales recorded. Benfield is the 107th largest electrical distributor in the country, with 1996 sales of approximately $45 million.

Central is a 60-year-old electrical wholesale distributor with 37 employees. Former principles Robert Kwintner, Paul Spector and Robert DeFrancesco will remain with the company, which will retain its name and operate as Benfield's wholly owned subsidiary.