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Staples Reports Higher Quarterly Sales, Earnings

11/15/2011 09:49:25 AM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. -
Staples reported higher company sales and net income for the fiscal third
quarter, ended Oct. 29.

Total company sales for the third quarter increased 0.5
percent to $6.6 billion compared with the prior year's third quarter.

Net income for the quarter increased 13 percent year over
year to $326 million.

In its North American retail segment, sales were flat at $2.7
billion compared with the third quarter of 2010. Third-quarter 2011 comp-store
sales declined 1 percent year on year, reflecting a 1 percent decrease in
customer traffic and flat average order size.

Operating income rate increased 12 basis points to 10.7
percent compared with the third quarter of 2010. This primarily reflects
improved product margins, partially offset by increased labor expense and
investments in growth initiatives.

Staples opened two stores and closed three stores in the
U.S. and opened two stores in Canada, ending the third quarter of 2011 with
1,908 stores in North America.

"Our results in North America reflect our team's ability to
drive strong profit improvement in a tough environment," said Ron Sargent,
Staples' chairman/CEO.