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Staples N.A. Retail Sales Jump 9%

Framingham, Mass. — Strong performances in copy center, networking, digital cameras and accessories, portable computers and peripherals drove up fiscal third-quarter North American retail sales at Staples by 9 percent, hitting $2.5 billion from a year-ago $2.3 billion.

Income for the North American office products retail business in the third quarter, ended Oct. 29, rose to $245.3 million, from $220.9 million in the same three months last year. Same-store sales increased 3 percent.

“Our commitment to make it easy for our customers continues to fuel market-share gains,” said Ron Sargent, chairman/CEO.

Consolidated sales at Staples in the third quarter grew 11 percent, reaching $4.2 billion, up from a year-on-year $3.8 billion.

Consolidated net income climbed 14 percent, hitting $237.8 million, compared with $208.9 million in the same three months in 2004.

Total operating income increased to 8.8 percent of sales in the third quarter, with North American retail operating income rising to 10 percent of sales. Total inventory turns increased to 5.66 times.

Staples opened 18 new stores in the United States and 11 stores in Canada during the third quarter. Total stores operated have reached 1,748 worldwide.

In the nine months, North American retail sales hit $6.5 billion, up from a year-earlier $5.9 billion. Income for the North American retail business in the nine months came in at $528 million, compared with $423.2 million in the same time frame the prior year.

Consolidated Staples sales in the first nine months increased to $11.6 billion from $10.4 billion, while net income for the same period rose to $544.4 million from a year-over-year $457.1 million.