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OfficeMax Spikes as Profit Doubles

OfficeMax posts a first-quarter profit that nearly doubles, beating Wall Street's forecast.



) --



is surging as its profit nearly doubled in the first quarter, topping Wall Street's forecast.

During the quarter, the office supply retailer earned $24.8 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with $13.1 million, or 17 cents, in the year-ago period for OfficeMax.

Excluding items, OfficeMax actually earned 39 cents a share, easily surpassing analysts' estimates of 21 cents.

As a result, shares are gaining 7.7% to $7.45 in morning trading.

OfficeMax's sales for the quarter rose slightly to $1.92 billion, while same-store sales fell 2.5%.

Looking ahead, OfficeMax said that sales in both the second quarter and full year will be slightly higher, while operating income margins will also improve from the year-ago periods.

J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers says this forecast implies second-quarter guidance between a loss of 5 cents and profit of 10 cents a share. For the year, it implies earnings in the range of 20 cents to 87 cents a share.

This bests rival

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Office Depot

(ODP) - Get ODP Corporation Report

, which earlier in the week said its first-quarter profit and revenue both missed expectations. The company also forecast a second-quarter loss.

During the quarter, Office Depot earned $20 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $54.7 million, or 20 cents, in the year-ago period. While Office Depot swung into profit, it fell short of Wall Street's outlook by a penny.

Sales dropped 5% to $3.07 billion, lower than the $3.14 billion analysts predicted. North America same-store sales slipped 1%.

Still, shares of Office Depot are rising 2% to $7.01 on Thursday, while



is up 1.1% to $23.82.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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