Staples 4Q hit by charges, forecast misses view

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm •  Published: March 6, 2013
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Revenue rose 3 percent to $6.57 billion from $6.37 billion, but that missed analyst expectations of $6.71 billion, despite an extra week in the quarter compared with last year.

Sales for the North American stores and online segment — which includes retail stores and its online businesses in the U.S. and Canada — rose 3 percent mostly because of the extra week of sales. Better sales of tablets, e-readers, facilities and break-room supplies and copy and print services was somewhat offset by lower sales of computers, digital cameras and software.

Revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5 percent due to weaker traffic and a flat average order size. The results do not include online sales.

For the North American commercial unit, sales rose 7 percent primarily because of the extra week but also because of increased sales of facilities and break-room supplies.

The division includes contract operations in the U.S. and Canada and Staples Quill.com business.

International sales dropped 4 percent because of softness in Australia and Europe.

Staples lost $210.7 million, or 31 cents per share, for the full year. In the prior year it reported net income of $984.7 million, or $1.40 per share.

Annual revenue edged down 1 percent to $24.38 billion from $24.66 billion.

The Framingham, Mass., company anticipates 2013 earnings between $1.30 and $1.35 per share. Revenue is expected to rise by a low single-digit percentage rate compared with 2012's consolidated sales of $23.92 billion. Analysts expect $1.44 per share on $24.33 billion in revenue.

Staples also said Wednesday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend by 9 percent.to 12 cents per share from 11 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on April 18 to shareholders of record on March 29.

Its shares fell 95 cents, or 7.2 percent, to close at $12.34 Wednesday. Its shares are down 27 percent from their 52-week high of $16.93 last March. They fell as low as $10.57 in late August.