OfficeMax ( OMX) posted a lower first-quarter profit, despite an increase in total sales and domestic same-store sales, as last year's results included a big tax refund. The company earned $9.8 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with $63.5 million, or 51 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Last year's results included a $57.5 million cash tax refund, OfficeMax said. Assuming an approximate 40% tax rate, earnings were 5 cents a share, or $5.9 million, in the first quarter, compared with 3 cents a share, or $3.6 million, in the first quarter of 2002, excluding last year's cash tax refund. Analysts were also expecting the company to earn 5 cents a share on that basis. Sales were $1.23 billion, compared with $1.18 billion a year ago. Domestic same-store sales rose 5%, the company said. OfficeMax said sales were hurt in mid-March by the start of the war in Iraq. Looking to the second quarter, traditionally a weak time for the company, OfficeMax expects to lose 22 cents a share. Assuming a full-tax rate, the company expects to lose 13 cents a share. Analysts expect the company to lose 9 cents a share. Shares of the company were recently down 0.89% to $5.55 on the news.