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Staples Reports Weak Results as Stores Continue to Close

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Office supplies retailer Staples (SPLS - Get Report) reported disappointing first-quarter results on Tuesday as the company continues its plan to close as many as 225 stores by the end of 2015.


Office supplies retailer Staples reported disappointing first-quarter results on Tuesday and forecast a decline in sales in the current quarter.

Excluding items, Staples posted earnings of 18 cents a share for the first three months of the year, missing analyst estimates by 3 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. Sales fell almost 3% to about $5.6 billion. The company said sales growth was weighed down by about 1% due to a stronger U.S. dollar and store closures.

The company closed 16 stores in the first quarter and plans to shut down about 80 more in the current period, all part of the plan it announced in March to close as many as 225 by the end of 2015. Staples took a $46 million pre-tax charge in the quarter tied to the closures.

Staples chairman and CEO Ron Sargent said, "We're making progress meeting the changing needs of our customers as we reinvent Staples.  Despite a slow start to the first quarter, our results were in line with our expectations and we expect to build momentum throughout 2014."

Oppenheimer equity research has a Perform rating on the stock, noting, "We are encouraged with Staples' turnaround efforts, but remain concerned that a strategic repositioning at the chain is simply occurring 'too late.'"

In New York, I'm Brittany Umar for TheStreet.

-- Written by Brittany Umar in New York.

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