By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sales at Staples North American Retail segment increased 2 percent in the retailer's fiscal second quarter, reaching $1.5 billion, up from $1.4 billion in the year-ago period. The segment posted a second-quarter profit of $45.8 million, up 14 percent, compared with $40.1 million in the same three months in 2001.
With its core office product categories remaining strong during the second three months, ended August 3, overall sales at Staples climbed 5 percent, hitting $2.4 billion, up from $2.3 billion in the same period last year. Comp-store sales were flat during the quarter, but gross profit margin increased by 89 basis points as a result of better buying and an improved product mix, resulting from the company's focus on small business customers.
Staples recorded overall net income of $59 million in the second quarter, up 47 percent, compared with $40.4 million in the same three months in 2001.
For the six months, the North American Retail segment reported flat sales of $3.2 billion, up from $3.1 billion in the year-ago period. The segment reported income of $105 million for the first half, up from $78.9 million in the first six months of 2001.
Sales in the first half reached $5.2 billion overall, up from $5 billion in the same six months last year. Income reached $153.4 million in the first half, compared with $79.9 million year over year.
Looking ahead, Staples anticipates mid to high single-digit sales growth for the full year, and assumes the current economic environment will remain unchanged for the remainder of 2002.
Staples added 19 stores in the second quarter, ending the three months with 1,266 locations. At the end of the period, the retailer had remodeled 114 locations to its new customer-centric format.
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