Office Depot Sales Rise

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Office Depot Inc. sales for the second quarter, which ended June 29, rose 4 percent to $2.6 billion compared with second-quarter 2001 while sales for the first six months of 2002 grew 2 percent to $5.7 billion compared with that period in 2001, the Delray Beach, FL, company said yesterday.

Worldwide comparable sales in the 847 stores and 39 delivery centers that have been open for more than one year were flat in the second quarter, and fell 1 percent during the first half of 2002. Operating income for the second quarter increased 15 percent to $92.7 million compared with the same period in 2001. In the first six months of 2002, operating income rose 45 percent to $256.6 million from the same period in 2001.

A 37 percent rise in e-commerce sales was offset by softness in the North American catalog businesses. Also, sales in the second quarter reflected an improvement in local currency growth rates in all European Viking catalog operations except France.

Other second-quarter highlights included:

· Worldwide e-commerce sales grew 38 percent to $498 million, and by 37 percent to $987 million for the first six months of 2002.

· Sales in the Business Services Group grew 4 percent, and 3 percent for the first six months of 2002 compared with the same periods last year. The contract division experienced positive growth while catalog sales remained soft.

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