DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) ¿ United Stationers Inc. said Friday that its third-quarter profit edged up 1 percent on reduced expenses and continued high demand for some of its flu-related products.

The distributor of office and business products earned $33.5 million, or $1.38 per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's up from $33.1 million, or $1.39 per share, a year earlier.

The prior year's results included a 13 cents per share gain on the sale of two distribution centers.

Operating expenses declined to $126.3 million from $136.1 million.

"Our strong execution of diligent cost management and working capital controls helped us counter the effects of lower sales compared with last year," President and CEO Richard Gochnauer said in a statement.

Sales dropped 7 percent to $1.25 billion from $1.34 billion as the recession weighed on all product categories.

United Stationers distributes technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture and industrial supplies.

The company's stock gained $2.92, or 6.3 percent, to $49.50 in morning trading.
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