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Shares of



were more than 9% after the company said same-store sales increased during the back-to-school shopping season, the first six weeks of its third quarter, bringing the quarter's total results into the "positive mid-single digit range" so far. The company said the results, which are on track with previous guidance and analysts' forecast, make it possible to expect profitable quarterly and yearly results.

The shares were recently up 9.4% to $4.88 on the

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New York Stock Exchange


The company did not give a specific EPS outlook, but analysts were expecting it to earn 6 cents a share for the third quarter and 3 cents a share for the year. The company lost 17 cents a share in the third quarter last year and lost 66 cents a share for all of 2001.

Cleveland-based OfficeMax said the same-store results were better than the 3.4% increase reported in the company's second quarter, which ended in July. On Aug. 13, the company reported a wider-than-expected loss of $33.4 million, or 27 cents a share, not including a tax credit. With the credit, the company had a loss of 16 cents a share, 2 cents below the analyst estimate.

The office products retailer has about 1,000 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.