Staples Has Rough Third Quarter

Staples as a whole did $6.1 billion in sales during its fiscal third quarter. However, that equates to a decrease of 3.8% compared to the same period in 2012.

“It’s been a year since we announced our strategic reinvention, and we’re evolving our business to meet the changing needs of customers,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer, in its earnings release. “We continue to face weak demand for core office supplies, but we’re driving growth online and in new categories, while aggressively managing expenses.”

Staples said its North American Stores and Online group’s sales fell 5.3% to just over $3 billion. sales grew 3% during the third quarter. The sales increase reflects increased customer traffic and stable customer conversion, partially offset by lower average order size. Staples did not disclose its actual sales figures.

B2B sales did see a slight lift: North American Commercial sales for the third quarter were $2.1 billion, an increase of .7% compared to the third quarter of 2012. This primarily reflects growth in facilities and breakroom supplies, tablets, and furniture, partially offset by declines in office supplies, paper, and ink and toner.

International sales fell 8%. The sales decline reflects weakness in European delivery, a negative impact of approximately 2% due to 48 European store closures during the 12 months preceding the third quarter of 2013, and to a lesser extent, weakness in Australia.

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