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OfficeMax Q3 Core Sales Climb 6%

11/13/2000 02:00:00 AM Eastern

CLEVELAND -OfficeMax reported record sales of $1.3 billion in its Core Business Segment during its third quarter, a 5.7 percent increase over the $1.2 billion recorded in the same three months last year. However, comp-store sales were off 3.7 percent for the quarter in the segment that consists of office supplies, furniture, business machines, peripherals and printing services.

Including special charges, the Core Business Segment reported a loss of $15.3 million for the quarter ended Oct. 21., compared with a loss of $29.1 million in the year-ago three months. Prior to special charges, the Core Business Segment recorded a loss of $3.7 million for the third quarter, compared with an income of $24.2 million in the same period in 1999.

The retailer said short-term borrowings at the end of the third quarter were reduced to $180 million, down nearly 50 percent from the $343 million reported in the previous quarter.

OfficeMax sales for the third quarter in its continuing core and Office-Max.com segments, excluding the Computer Business Segment that was discontinued prior to this reporting period, climbed 7.2 percent to $1.3 billion, compared with $1.22 billion in last year's third quarter for the same business segments. Comp-store sales for the continuing segments, however, decreased 1.7 percent in the quarter.

The OfficeMax.com Segment said sales jumped 182 percent to $29.6 million for the third quarter, compared with $10.5 million in the year-ago three months. However, the segment's net loss climbed to $6.7 million, up from $1.8 million in the third quarter in 1999. Gross margin for the quarter rose 470 basis points to 29.2 percent, up from 24.5 percent, due to a favorable sales mix and pricing discipline.

For the nine months, the OfficeMax Core Business Segment increased sales 9.7 percent to $3.5 billion, up from $3.2 billion in the first nine months of 1999.

The segment, prior to special charges, incurred a loss of $9.6 million for the nine months, compared with a gain of $63 million in the year-ago period. Including special charges, the segment had a nine-month loss of $21.3 million, compared with an income of $9.7 million in the year-ago nine-month period.

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