Office Depot Sales Up 7% for Q2

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Second-quarter sales at Office Depot Inc., Delray Beach, FL, totaled $2.8 billion, a 7 percent increase from the second quarter a year ago, the company said yesterday.


For the first six months of the year, sales rose 4 percent versus the first half of 2002. Excluding business from the newly acquired Guilbert S.A., one of the largest contract stationers in Europe, total sales increased 3 percent for the second quarter, which ended June 28, and 2 percent for the first six months.


Worldwide comparable sales at the 894 stores and 39 delivery centers that have been open for more than one year fell 1 percent in the second quarter and 2 percent for the first half of the year. Sales of technology products and furniture dropped in both periods.


Operating profit for the second quarter fell 11 percent to $82 million compared with the same period last year, "primarily as a result of unfavorable gross margin comparisons in North American retail stores," the company said.


Operating profit in the first six months fell 5 percent to $243 million.


The Business Services Group reported that sales rose 1 percent in the second quarter and 2 percent for the first half of the year. The increase reflects stronger comparable sales in the contract channel, "partially offset by declines in the catalog channel." Domestic e-commerce sales climbed 16 percent in the quarter and 18 percent in the first six months.


Sales in the International Division skyrocketed 52 percent in the second quarter and 37 percent in the first six months of the year, compared with the year-ago periods. The change in exchange rates from the corresponding periods of the previous year increased sales reported in U.S. dollars by $90.5 million for the quarter and $167.3 million in the first six months of the year.


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