Financial reports: Office Depot, Williams-Sonoma

Office Depot Sales Up 1%

Office products superstore chain Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), which also mails the Viking Office Products catalog, posted a 1% increase in total first-quarter sales, to $3.0 billion for the three months ended March 30. Operating income increased 69%, to $163.9 million from $96.9 million the previous first quarter.

At $426.8 million, international sales rose just slightly from $426.6 million 12 months prior. Office Depot anticipates continued sales softness in its European catalog operations for the next few quarters. In early April, Viking began catalog operations in Spain with new logistic and call center facilities.

First-quarter online sales rose 36%, to $488.3 million, with domestic e-commerce sales rising 35% and international e-commerce sales increasing 56%. The Delray Beach, FL-based company said it is “on track to exceed $2 billion in worldwide e-commerce sales this year.”

Williams-Sonoma Raises Guidance Stronger sales and better-than-expected gross margins have led home decor cataloger/retailer Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) to increase its expectations for the first and second quarters of the fiscal year. The San Francisco-based marketer, whose catalogs include Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Chambers, and Hold Everything, now projects first-quarter diluted earnings of $0.17-$0.19 per share, up considerably from previous guidance of $0.03-$0.04 per share. The company expects first-quarter revenue of $465 million-$475 million, compared with previous guidance of $461 million-$471 million.

For the second quarter, Williams-Sonoma projects diluted earnings per share of $0.07-$0.09 compared with previous guidance of $0.04-$0.05 per share. And for fiscal 2002 overal, it is projecting diluted earnings per share of $1.69-$1.75, up from previous guidance of $1.52-$1.56 per share.