NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Staples (SPLS) are falling, down 0.9% to $13.80 in midday trading Tuesday, after the office supply retailer said that it will close more stores than previously announced this year as it tries to re-position itself to remain competitive, despite its upbeat fourth quarter outlook, the Associated Press reports.
Staples said that it has closed 127 stores so far this year, and now expects to close 170 stores in 2014, higher than its previous guidance of 140 store closures, the AP noted.
The Framingham, MA-based company has been struggling amid strong competition, closing stores to cut costs and improve profitability, the AP added
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Staples chairman and CEO Ron Sargent said the company is now focused on reducing expenses further, stabilizing its under-performing businesses and investing in its best growth opportunities.
The company now expects fourth quarter earnings of 27 cents to 32 cents per share on an adjusted basis, in-line with analysts' forecast of 31 cents per share.
For the third quarter, Staples reported earnings yesterday of $216.8 million, or 37 cents per adjusted share, lower compared to the 42 cents per share it reported last year, but beating analysts' expectations of 36 cents per share.
The company's revenue fell 2.5% to $5.96 billion from last year as it had fewer stores open, but topping the $5.93 billion analysts expected.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates STAPLES INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate STAPLES INC (SPLS) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed, some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: SPLS Ratings Report