LAKE FOREST, Ill. — W.W. Grainger posted a 14% drop in profits for the first quarter, totalling $171.6 million. The $2.88 EPS fell short of analyst expectations by 11 cents. At the same time revenues rose increased by 1.2% to $2.54 billion. “Overall, the first quarter clearly fell short of our expectations,” CEO D.G. Macpherson said, “driven primarily by the stronger than anticipated customer response to our U.S. strategic pricing actions, with a greater volume of products sold at more competitive prices”.