San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
DELRAY BEACH, FLA. — Office Depot said comp-store sales in North America during April — the first month in the retailer's second quarter — were worse than results of the first quarter, but May showed improvement over first-quarter results. As a result, Office Depot expects comp-store sales for the second quarter to be similar to the first, around low negative double digits. Office Depot provided this information in a mid-quarter update, filed as an 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Factors driving these weak retail comps continue to be low unit demand for high-ticket items such as technology and furniture, and lower average selling prices for technology products, said the retailer. The company is experiencing improved gross margins during the second quarter, due to mix shifts away from technology, as well as a more stable external pricing environment.
FRAMINGHAM, MASS. — Staples reported that its profits were flat in its fiscal first quarter ended May 5, compared with the year-ago three months, and that it expected no growth in the second quarter. It also scaled back store expansion plans. Overall sales in the three months for the office products retailer climbed 4 percent to $2.7 billion, up from $2.6 billion in the year-ago three months. North American retail sales were flat at $1.71 billion for the first quarter, up from $1.68 billion the previous year. The company recorded overall net income of $40 million in the first quarter, even with the $40 million, excluding one-time items, for the same three months last year. Income in the North American retail segment was more than cut in half during the first quarter.
ATLANTA — Although impacted by a weak first-quarter economy and higher energy costs, Home Depot was able to improve sales and earnings in its fiscal first quarter ended April 29. Sales climbed 10 percent to $12.2 billion, compared with $11.1 billion in the year-ago period. Net earnings were $632 million, relatively flat compared with the $629 million recorded in the same three months last year. However, comp-store sales for the first quarter dropped 3 percent, compared with the year-ago quarter, and were negatively affected by about 1 percent due to deflation in lumber and building materials retail pricing. The retailer expects comp-store sales to be flat to slightly negative in the second quarter.