Graybar Takes a Stand Against Private Labeling

CEO Reynolds says company will only market its suppliers’ products

ST. LOUIS, May 11, 2008 – Graybar, one of the nation’s leading distributors of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, stated its opposition to private-label products at the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) Annual Meeting May 5-9 in Washington, D.C.

In the May show issue of TED Magazine, NAED’s publication on the electrical distribution industry, Graybar placed an ad with the headline ‘"No." (Graybar takes a public stand on private labeling.)’ Here the company outlined its stance and encouraged the industry to follow suit.

"A number of people walked up to me at the meeting and thanked us for the position Graybar is taking, and we think it’s important," said Robert A. Reynolds Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar. "We believe that working with our suppliers, not against them, is in everyone’s best interest throughout the supply chain – right down to our mutual customers.That’s why we refuse to develop and market our own products."

In the ad, Graybar expressed its belief that distributors should focus on the important role of distribution rather than circumventing the traditional manufacturer-distributor relationship to create their own competing brands of products. Reasons cited included breaking healthy industry alliances and potentially increasing customer liability.

"Our relationship with our suppliers and their brands is very important to us," Reynolds emphasized. "It’s about trust, loyalty and partnership. We have had many supplier relationships for 82 years, and we don’t want to jeopardize them in any way."