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OfficeMax Q4 Sales Rise 5%

3/04/2003 08:22:00 AM Eastern

Cleveland - Fueled by increased same-store sales, OfficeMax reported a 5 percent overall fiscal fourth quarter sales increase, hitting $1.34 billion, up from $1.27 billion in the year-ago period.

The increase helped the office product retailer move into the black during for fourth quarter, ended Jan. 25, with a net income of $27.1 million for the period, compared with a net loss of $243.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier. This included charges of $77 million for store closings and a non-cash charge of $171 million. Gross margin in the fourth quarter climbed 370 basis points, to 24.9 percent.

U.S. comparable-store sales climbed 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Pro forma, the company recorded an earned net of $16.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a pro forma loss of $22.2 million year over year.

OfficeMax chairman/CEO Michael Feuer attributed the company's substantial quarterly gains to development and installation of state-of-the-art supply chain management and computer systems, store execution programs, more effective merchandise presentations and focused marketing tactics.

Overall full-year sales increased 3 percent, reaching $4.8 billion, up from $4.6 billion in the previous year. Comp-store sales climbed about 4 percent.

For the 12 months, net income also moved into the black, hitting $73.7 million, compared with a loss of $309.5 million the previous fiscal year. On a pro forma basis, 12-month net income was $9.8 million, compared with a loss of $88.9 million in the prior year.

In the first quarter of its current fiscal year, OfficeMax expects comp-store sales above the mid-single digit range, with full-year overall sales expected at somewhat above $5 billion. Year-end comps also are forecast for the mid-single digit range.

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