Ups and Downs for Staples’ First Quarter

First-quarter sales for office supplies catalog/retailer Staples jumped 19%, to $5.8 billion for the period ended May 2. But net income plunged 33%, to $143 million.

Sales from its North American Delivery Business—which includes the Staples and Quill catalogs and online businesses as well as the Staples contract delivery business—grew 41%, to $2.4 billion. But sales were down 13% after adjusting revenue for the first quarter of 2008 to include Corporate Express’ sales of $1.1 billion.

Staples’ North American retail sales decreased 9%, to $2.2 billion, while same-store sales slipped 8%. Including $886 million of Corporate Express sales, total international sales rose 60%, to $1.2 billion. But, international sales for the first quarter fell 11% after adjusting sales for the first quarter of 2008 to include Corporate Express’ sales of $949 million.

Company chairman/CEO Ron Sargent said in a release: “Staples associates drove solid earnings performance in a very tough sales environment, while also making excellent progress on the Corporate Express integration. These results reflect our commitment to take great care of customers, tightly manage expenses and invest for future growth.”

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