UBS is in the neutral camp and it cut its price target to $11 from $12 on Tuesday. The firm anticipates the retailer will feel some pinch from weak PC sales but found something of a silver lining in this trend.
"The recent lessons from SPLS' peers shows that the tech category has been particularly soft as of late (PCs = 6% of SPLS sales)," UBS said. "This puts the bias to the downside for our -1% comp est for 3Q. The perverse benefit of not having these sales is that it's a gross margin good guy. This was the case with OMX [OfficeMax] & ODP [Office Depot]. SPLS GM [gross margin] compare is more difficult than last quarter, but we don't expect to see as much compression as the 51 bps [basis points] from 2Q. We est. a 25 bps decline."
Aside from the actual results though, UBS will be looking for color on what kind of benefit Staples is seeing from its restructuring efforts.
"This will be the first opportunity to get a more detailed debriefing of SPLS recently announced strategies to improve its business," the firm said. "The co. has a plan to achieve $250 mm in pre-tax cost savings by end of '15. The market has been anxiously awaiting to hear how these savings will be achieved, but also how much will be shared with equity holders. If the full amount dropped to the bottom-line, it would translate to $0.25 of EPS accretion (providing ~20% accretion)."
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is also releasing its numbers on Wednesday with Wall Street calling for a profit of 45 cents a share on revenue of $921.8 million in the third quarter.
UBS said it's expecting a "solid" performance from the company with the potential for upside to the 45-cent a share estimate, which is based on a forecast for 2% growth in same-store sales. The firm, however, kept a neutral rating on the stock and cut its price target to $43 from $47, saying it thinks a strong performance is already baked into the stock price.