Office Depot 2nd Quarter Sales Decrease 1%

By Jeff Malester On Sep 15 2003 - 6:00am

Improving sales of paper and machine supplies, offset by softness in computers and monitors and furniture, turned into a 1 percent second quarter sales decline for the North American retail segment at Office Depot. Sales hit $1.28 billion for the three months, down from $1.29 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales dropped 3 percent in the second quarter.

Sales of computers and monitors showed an almost 30 percent unit increase in the second quarter, ended June 28, but this rise came at the expense of lower price points than the comparable three months in 2002, as price deflation continued in the technology segment.

Second quarter customer transactions at the office supplies retailer increased by more than 2 percent over the same time period last year.

North American segment operating profit dropped 51 percent to $46.4 million in the second quarter, down from $94 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The company blamed operating costs required to implement its merchandising initiatives, as well as lower margins from clearance activity and some de-leveraging of occupancy expense for the drop-off.

Sales for the first half in the retailer's North American segment hit $2.8 billion, down form $2.9 billion year-on-year. Comp-store sales dropped 5 percent in the first six months, as did operating profit, which came in at $164.6 million, compared with $217.6 million in the first half of 2002.

In the second half, Office Depot said North American retail segment gross margin will rebound to more comparable levels of 2002.

Consolidated Office Depot sales increased 7 percent in the second quarter, hitting $2.8 billion, up from $2.6 billion in the second quarter last year. Comp-store sales worldwide declined 1 percent.

Consolidated net income reached $59.6 million, up from $56.9 million in the same quarter in 2002. Operating income decreased by 11 percent in the period.

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