Staples Gets Q4 Profit; Office Depot Posts Loss
By Steve Smith On Mar 10 2010 - 3:39pm
NEW YORK — Two office superstores
reported two different fortunes in
the fourth quarter, with Staples posting
higher net sales and lower net earnings,
while Office Depot posted lower sales
and a loss.
Staples’ fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan.
30, and it reported a net sales increase of
4 percent to $6.4 billion compared with
the prior year’s fi nal quarter. Net income
was down for the quarter year over year
by 18 percent to $234 million.
Office Depot’s fourth quarter ended
Dec. 26, 2009; sales were down 6 percent
to $3.1 billion. The net loss was $77
million compared with a net loss of $1.54
billion in the same period of 2008.
, due to previously announced
special items totaling $62 million
and a pretax integration and restructuring
expense of $41 million and other
items, adjusted earnings per share were
up 6 percent, Staples reported.
“With a strong finish in the fourth
quarter, our team delivered a solid 2009,”
said Ron Sargent, Staples chairman/
CEO, in a prepared statement. “We
made great progress on the integration of
Corporate Express, took big steps toward
building a global Staples brand, laid a solid
foundation for growth in our technology
services and copy and print businesses,
and strengthened our international
Staples’ North American retail operation
sales for the fourth quarter were
$2.6 billion, an increase of 8 percent in
U.S. dollars and an increase of 4 percent
in local currency compared with the
fourth quarter of 2008.
Fourth-quarter 2009 comp-store sales
increased 3 percent year on year, “reflecting
positive customer traffic and strength in
computers, ink and toner, offset by weakness
in durable categories such as business
machines and furniture,” Staples said.
The operation opened four stores and
closed five stores during the fourth quarter,
and opened 48 stores and closed 12
stores during the full year, ending 2009
with 1,871 stores in North America.
At Office Depot, chief financial officer
Mike Newman commented, “Our fourth-quarter operating results and
cash-fl ow performance exceeded our expectations
due to stronger than anticipated
sales in our North American retail
and international businesses.”
Fourth-quarter 2009 sales in the
North American retail division were
$1.3 billion, a decrease of 9 percent compared
with the same period last year, due
in part to having 115 fewer stores open
in the fourth quarter of 2009 vs. the prior
Comp-store sales in the 1,139 stores
in the U.S. and Canada that have been
open for more than one year decreased 4
percent for the fourth quarter compared
with the prior-year period.
The North American retail division
had an operating profi t of $2 million for
the fourth quarter of 2009, compared
with a loss of $119 million reported in
the same period of the prior year.
During the fourth quarter, Office Depot
closed eight stores, opened two and
relocated one store, bringing the total
store count for North America to 1,152
as of Dec. 26, 2009.