Office Max


said today it will close 50 superstores nationwide, citing a consumer spending slowdown, and the company expects to incur several one-time charges in the fourth quarter.

The office supply retailer, which is based in Shaker Heights, Ohio, expects to report a charge of about $69 million for store closings, lease dispositions and fixed asset impairments. OfficeMax will post an addition charge of roughly $6 million for inventory liquidation.

The company will release its fourth-quarter earnings during the week of March 5. While OfficeMax expects a loss for the fourth quarter in excess of 5 cents a share, analysts surveyed by

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First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate the company will report earnings of 2 cents a share.

OfficeMax also plans to open less than 25 new stores in fiscal 2001, down from the company's original plan to open about 50 locations.

Shares of Office Max rose 19 cents, or 5.6%, to $3.56 in recent

New York Stock Exchange