Staples Profit Falls 33 Percent In 1st Quarter
ASHLEY M. HEHER
CHICAGO (AP) ¿ Recession-weary customers are still putting off big-ticket purchases from office-supply chain Staples Inc., but the retailer said it's beginning to see smaller declines in foot traffic and sales to small businesses.
The chain's tepid first-quarter results, released Wednesday, show the limping U.S. economy may finally be digging itself out of its slump by the end of the year, executives said Wednesday.
"I think the economy still looks pretty choppy out there," Chairman and Chief Executive Ron Sargent told investors during a conference call. "But I do believe that we're kind of slowly heading toward recovery mode."Among the signs of progress during the quarter: ¿ Sales through Staples Business Delivery and Quill, which targets companies with less than 100 employees, posted low double-digit sales declines, an improvement from the fourth quarter. Staples President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Miles said that was a sign "confirming the sense we're getting at retail that the small-business segment has stabilized." ¿ Same-store sales in the U.S. ¿ a key retail industry metric of sales in stores open at least a year¿ fell 8 percent, better than the fourth quarter's 13 percent decrease. And comparable-store customer counts fell 2 percent, better than the mid-single digit declines posted at the end of the 2009 fiscal year.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV