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Staples’ Q4 Profit Up 19%

Framingham, Mass. — Improved customer service and strong execution helped Staples drive double-digit sales and profit gains for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year.

For the three months ended Jan. 29, net income rose 19 percent to $251 million on company-wide sales of $4.1 billion, a gain of 13 percent. Revenue at North American stores grew 8 percent, and same-store sales increased 4 percent over the year-ago period.

For the full year, net income grew 28 percent on a pro forma basis to $708 million, and net sales spiked 11 percent to $14.4 billion, while comparable store sales in North America edged up 4 percent.

President/CEO Ron Sargent said the strong results were attributable to improved customer service and inventory turns (up 40 basis points to 5.6 times); a 30-percent hike in retail unit earnings; and a 25 percent gain in global e-commerce sales, to $3 billion last year.

Looking ahead, Sargent reported that “We’re starting off 2005 on rock solid footing. Trends are strong. Our team’s execution has never been better, and we are driving improvements in all areas of our business.”