Updated from 9:24 a.m. to include information about the dividend in the ninth paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Staples (SPLS - Get Report) shares were plunging 12.5% to $11.72 in early morning trading following news that the office supply chain missed fourth-quarter earnings and sales estimates and plans to close 10.5% of its store base over the next two years as it cuts expenses and focuses more on online sales.
The Framingham, Mass.-based company reported on Thursday a quarterly profit from continuing operations of $212.4 million, or 33 cents a share, compared to 90 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Consensus was calling for earnings of 39 cents a share.
Sales for the final quarter of 2013 dropped 10% to $5.87 billion. Online sales, however, rose 10% in the quarter, Staples said. Analysts had expected the company to post sales of $5.97 billion for the quarter.(AMZN), leaving retailers saddled with large commercial square footage, too much inventory and not enough foot traffic. Best Buy (BBY), J.C. Penney (JCP) even Macy's (M) are all looking to shave expenses through store closures. --Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski
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