W.W. Grainger Inc. weathered a tough year in 2016, as a drop in demand and little leverage to raise prices sent net earnings into a downward spiral amid weak sales growth.

There was better news on the e-commerce front. E-commerce sales increased 16.4% to $4.76 billion from $4.09 billion in 2015, as e-commerce accounted for 47% of total sales, up from 41%, a spokesman says.