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Staples Post Lower Q4 N.A. Sales, Income

Framingham, Mass. — Staples reported lower North American retail sales and income in its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31.

North American retail sales were $2.4 billion, down 14 percent in U.S. dollars or 10 percent in local currency compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.

Comp-store sales dropped 13 percent, with weakness in computers, accessories, business machines and furniture.

North American retail income for the quarter was $223.4 million, down from $296.8 million in the previous year.

During the full year, North American retail sales were $9.5 billion, down from the previous fiscal year’s $10 billion. Income for North American retail was $769.7 million for the year, down from the prior year’s $949 million.

Reduced average inventory per store was 17 percent vs. the same period in 2007.

In its fiscal year, Staples opened 106 stores and closed nine, ending the fiscal year with 1,835 stores in North America.