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

For the full year 2012, International Operations achieved sales of $4.4 billion, a decrease of 10 percent in U.S. dollars and a decrease of seven percent on a local currency basis compared to the prior year. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, sales for the full year decreased 12 percent in U.S. dollars compared to 2011. Full year 2012 operating income rate declined 256 basis points to an operating loss of 0.48 percent compared to the prior year. Excluding $20 million of accelerated Australia tradename amortization during 2012, operating income rate decreased 211 basis points to a loss of 0.02 percent. In 2012, the company closed 49 stores and opened one store, ending the year with 283 stores in Europe.

Discontinued Operations

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company recorded an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $12 million related to its European Printing Systems business, which includes $2 million of charges related to restructuring. This compares to an after-tax loss of $69 thousand from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year 2012, the company recorded an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $50 million related to its European Printing Systems business, which includes $25 million of charges related to restructuring and incremental tax expense. This compares to an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $4 million during 2011.

Outlook

The company expects full year 2013 sales to increase in the low single-digits compared to 2012 sales on a 52 week basis of $23.9 billion. The company expects full year 2013 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $1.30 to $1.35. The company expects to generate more than $900 million of free cash flow and plans to continue repurchasing its common stock through open-market purchases during 2013.

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