Financial Reports: Staples, Martha Stewart

Strong Annual Gains for Staples

Framingham, MA-based cataloger/retailer Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) enjoyed a 24% jump in annual net income on a 14% rise in sales. For 2003, the office supplies marketer, whose holdings include cataloger Quill, netted $551.9 million on sales of $13.2 billion.

Income for the delivery business, which includes the catalogs, totaled $308.3 million, up 16% from $265.0 million in 2002. Sales for the North American delivery business increased 9%, to $3.7 billion. Worldwide e-commerce sales reached $2.1 billion for the year, an increase of 31% over 2002. North American comparable-store sales grew 4%.

Martha Stewart Direct Annual Sales Tumble The day before domestic diva Martha Stewart was found guilty on four charges related to insider trading, her company released bad news of another sort. Total annual revenue for New York-based Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) was down 17%, to $245.8 million from %295.0 million in 2002. The company, which includes the “Martha Stewart Living” magazine, a direct sales division, and a television division, ended 2003 in the red, with a net loss of $2.8 million. The previous year it had posted net income of $7.3 million.

Revenue within the Internet and print catalog group fell 16%, to $30.8 million from $36.9 million the previous year. The division nonetheless cut its net loss 44%, to $15.1 million from $26.7 million.