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Staples, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2012 Performance

For the full year 2012, North American Commercial achieved sales of $8.1 billion, an increase of two percent, and approximately flat excluding the extra week, compared to 2011. Full year 2012 operating income rate increased 10 basis points to 8.39 percent versus 2011.

International Operations
  Fourth Quarter   Full Year
(dollar amounts in millions) 2012   2011   Change 2012   2011   Change
Sales $1,168 $1,215 (3.9%) $4,444 $4,948 (10.2%)
Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $1,087 $1,215 (10.5%) $4,363 $4,948 (11.8%)
Operating (loss) income $6 $32 ($26) ($21) $103 ($124)
Operating (loss) income rate   0.5%   2.7%   (215 basis points)   (0.5%)   2.1%   (256 basis points)

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about this non-GAAP measure.

Sales in International Operations for the fourth quarter were $1.2 billion, a decrease of four percent in U.S. dollars, as well as on a local currency basis, compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. These results reflect weak sales in Australia and Europe, partially offset by $81 million of sales during the extra week in 2012. Comparable store sales in Europe declined nine percent with lower traffic driving the majority of the decline versus the prior year. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, sales in International Operations for the fourth quarter decreased 11 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Operating income rate decreased 215 basis points to 0.51 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding $4 million of accelerated Australia tradename amortization during the fourth quarter, operating income rate decreased 177 basis points to 0.89 percent compared to the prior year. This decline primarily reflects lower product margin in Europe and deleverage of fixed expenses in Europe and Australia, partially offset by savings related to headcount reductions in Europe and Australia. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company closed 46 stores in Europe.

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