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Staples Fis. Q3 Sales Increase 4%

11/19/2002 01:11:00 PM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. - Sales at the North American Retail segment of office supplies retailer Staples increased 4 percent in the company's fiscal third quarter, hitting $1.93 billion, up from $1.85 billion in the year-ago period. Retail comp sales increased more than 1 percent. The segment reported third quarter income of $136.3 million, up from $100.5 million in the same three months last year.

For the nine months, North American Retail segment sales were relatively flat, coming in at $5.1 billion, compared with $5 billion in the same period in 2001. Segment income for the nine months reached $241.3 million, up from $179.3 million the previous year.

With both sales and earnings ahead of expectations in the third quarter, Staples consolidated sales hit $3.1 billion, up 9 percent from the $2.8 billion reported in the third quarter last year. Overall comp-store sales climbed 3 percent in the period.

Boosted by rapid expansion of its delivery business as well as improved profit margin, Staples net income was $128 million in the third quarter, ended Nov. 2, up over 40 percent from the $91.3 million recorded in same time frame the previous year.

For the nine months, consolidated sales reached $8.3 billion, up from $7.8 billion in the same period last year. Net income for the nine months was $281.4 million, compared with $171.2 million year-on-year.

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