Office Depot Sales Rise 2%

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Office Depot Inc., Delray Beach, FL, said yesterday that total company sales in the fourth quarter and fiscal 2002 year ended Dec. 28, 2002, each rose 2 percent from 2001.

Q4 sales were $2.8 billion for the quarter. Worldwide comparable sales in the 885 stores and 39 delivery centers that have been open more than one year were flat in the quarter as worldwide e-commerce sales skyrocketed 28 percent to $553 million in the period. Operating profit in the quarter increased 32 percent to $101.9 million.

Total company sales for the year were $11.4 billion. Worldwide comparable sales were flat for the full year 2002 as worldwide e-commerce sales climbed 34 percent to $2.1 billion. For the fiscal year, operating profit rose 41 percent to $499.7 million.

North American retail sales fell 3 percent in the fourth quarter and 1 percent in the full year. In the quarter, comparable-store sales in the 848 stores in North America that have been open more than one year dropped 4 percent. For the full fiscal year, comparable-store sales fell 2 percent.

Sales in the Business Services Group rose 5 percent in the fourth quarter and 4 percent in the full year. The contract business grew more than 6 percent in the quarter. Domestic e-commerce sales grew 26 percent in the quarter.

International Division sales grew 6 percent in local currencies and 17 percent in U.S. dollars in the fourth quarter. In the full year, that growth totaled 6 percent in local currencies and 11 percent in U.S. dollars.

The company also said it plans to launch its first retail stores in Spain in April. It targeted Madrid and the surrounding area for six new stores to open by mid-2003.

In other news, West Marine Inc., Watsonville, CA, posted net income for the year ended Dec. 28, 2002, of $18.9 million, up 35.9 percent from $13.9 million in 2001. Net sales in 2002 were $530.6 million, an increase of 3.5 percent from $512.9 million in 2001. Comparable store net sales increased 0.9 percent from 2001.

The retailer of boating supplies had a net loss for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28 of $1.4 million, compared with a loss of $2 million in the same period last year. Net sales for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 28 totaled $92.7 million, up 2 percent from the 2001 Q4. Comparable-store net sales for the quarter fell 3.2 percent from that period a year ago.

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