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Staples N.A. Sales Slump On Weak Demand

9/03/2008 03:15:00 PM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. — Staples said declining traffic and order size contributed to a 1 percent decline in second-quarter net sales, to $2.1 billion, and a 7 percent drop in same-store sales in North America.

The office-supply chain also cited weakness in desktop computers, printers and digital cameras, which was partially offset by strong sales of laptop computers, ink and technology services.

Income for the company’s North American retail unit declined nearly 30 percent to $110.5 million for the three months, ended Aug. 2.

Total company sales increased 18 percent to $5.1 billion, and net income fell 16 percent to $150 million during the period. Excluding the impact of Corporate Express, an office products supplier for businesses and institutions that Staples acquired in July, sales grew 3 percent to $4.4 billion and net income fell 22 percent to $139 million.

“I am proud of our team for continuing to manage our business carefully during challenging economic times,” said chairman/CEO Ron Sargent, noting that the company is “working hard to improve store productivity” within its North American retail division.

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