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Staples North American Q1 Income Increases 53%

Sales in the North American Retail segment at office supplies retailer Staples during its fiscal first quarter edged up 1 percent, to $1.73 billion, compared with $1.71 billion in the year-ago period.

The North American Retail segment enjoyed a 53 percent increase in income for the first quarter, ended May 4, hitting $59.2 million, up from $38.7 million in the same three months in 2001.

The North American Retail business opened 17 stores in the first quarter, ending the three months with 1,247 units. In 2002, the retailer plans to open no more than 75 new U.S. stores and 20 in Canada.

Continued strong comp sales performance in consumables categories of 6 percent in the first quarter was overshadowed by weakness in computer and furniture sales, leading to an overall 3 percent increase in sales, to $2.74 billion, compared with $2.67 in the same quarter last year.

Retail-only comp sales in the first quarter were down 2 percent, a significant improvement over the previous quarter. Overall comp sales for the three months were flat.

Net income in the first quarter hit $93.9 million, compared with $39.5 million year over year. Excluding a one-time tax benefit in the first quarter, net income was $64.9 million.

Looking at the second quarter, Staples does not expect to achieve the earning growth of the first quarter. For the fiscal year, the retailer anticipates a mid-to-high single-digit increase in revenue.