Staples, Inc. Announces Q4 Financials

Closing Up To 225 Retail Stores

Massachusetts-based Staples, Inc., the parent company of Counselor Top 40 distributor Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601), has reported its sales for the quarter ended February 1, 2014, decreased 10.6% to $5.87 billion. Excluding online purchases, same store revenues in North America dropped 7%, while sales at the company’s international division fell 13%. Following its disappointing quarter, Staples announced a multi-year cost reduction plan that involves closing up to 225 retail stores by 2015.

“Our customers are using less office supplies, they're shopping less often in our stores and more online, and their focus on value has made the marketplace even more competitive,” said Ron Sargent, chairman and CEO of Staples.

Going forward, Staples is expected to concentrate on its online sales efforts, as the company reported higher traffic and a 10% increase in Web-based revenues in its fourth quarter. Already, the company said it ended 2013 with more than 500,000 products on versus 100,000 at the beginning of the year.

For all of 2013, Staples reported total company sales of $23.1 billion, a 5% decline compared to 2012. In its outlook, Staples, Inc. expects its Q1 2014 sales to decrease versus the same period in 2013. The company is forecasting quarterly earnings per share of between $0.17 and $0.22.

In its earnings statement, Staples did not break out sales of promotional products for Q4. In its most recent reporting to Counselor, Staples Promotional Products said it increased its third-quarter 2013 sales by about 6%. The largest distributor in the industry, Staples Promotional Products generated 2012 North American ad specialty sales of $409.4 million, according to Counselor estimates.