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Staples 4Q Net Rises 3.2% On Steady Margins, Slim Sales Gains

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Staples Inc.'s (SPLS) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 3.2% as the office-supply giant booked modest sales gains in its North American retail and delivery businesses and held margins steady. Office suppliers like Staples are operating in an intensely competitive retail environment, a challenge that has only been compounded by declining demand for office products, particularly among budget-challenged government customers. Looking ahead, Staples said it expects slow growth in the U.S. economy and a soft demand environment in Europe to figure in its 2012 results. For the year, Staples predicted earnings growth in the high single-digit percentage range over the $1.37 adjusted per-share profit recorded in 2011. Including the impact of the 53rd week in fiscal 2012, Staples also predicted full year sales to increase in the low single-digits compared to the prior year. Wall Street analysts currently expect a per-share profit of $1.49 on 1% sales growth, according to a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters. For the quarter ended Jan. 28, Staples posted a profit of $283.6 million, or 41 cents a share, up from a year-earlier profit of $274.7 million, or 38 cents a share. Sales inched up 0.7% to $6.46 billion. The company had called for earnings of 39 cents to 43 cents a share on sales growth in the flat to low-single digits percentage range. Gross margin was flat at 26.8%. North American retail sales rose 2.7% to $2.63 billion, as same-store sales rose 2% on higher average order size and a slight increase in customer traffic. Sales in the North American delivery division were up 1.5% from a year earlier, while international sales posted a 4.6% decline. Shares closed Tuesday at $16 and were inactive in premarket trading. The stock is up 15% since the start of the year. -By Mia Lamar, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3207; mia.lamar@dowjones.com

Stock News for Staples (SPLS)
DateTimeHeadline
02/14/201711:58:29Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
02/10/201706:03:52Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
02/07/201716:42:30Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
02/07/201716:42:04Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
02/02/201716:36:39Current Report Filing (8-k)
01/30/201707:22:00Staples Canada Releases Q3 2016 Sustainability Report
01/27/201706:05:05Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
01/24/201716:25:56Current Report Filing (8-k)
01/24/201716:05:00Staples, Inc. Announces Changes to Board and Governance Practices
01/11/201718:04:23Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership (3)
01/05/201716:36:00Digital Dunkin': Non-Tech Firms Crash CES, Looking to Connect
01/05/201708:17:14Current Report Filing (8-k)
01/05/201708:00:00Staples, Inc. Appoints Jeff Hall Chief Administrative Officer...
01/03/201713:05:00Staples Survey Finds 85% of Small Business Owners are Optimistic...
01/03/201703:03:00After Slower Year, Deal Prospects Set to Brighten -- WSJ
12/30/201605:59:00Will 2017 Be the Year of the Deal?
12/20/201610:21:00The 10 Best Stocking Stuffers under $50, $25 and $10 Can All...
12/19/201616:30:00Staples Names Faisal Masud Chief Technology Officer
12/15/201611:54:00The experts at Staples share their Holiday must-haves
12/09/201616:46:41Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)

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