Staples' Net Income Slips But Staples.com Reaches Profit

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Staples Inc., Framingham, MA, reported a drop of 5.5 percent in its fiscal second-quarter profits yesterday, a decline that matched Wall Street expectations, while the office products retailer recorded higher sales and the first quarterly profit at Staples.com.


Staples posted $40.35 million in net income during the quarter, a decline from $42.56 million during the year-ago period.


Sales rose 5 percent from $2.2 billion a year ago to $2.31 billion while same-store sales were flat.


The online businesses -- which include Staples.com, BusinessDepot.com, Quill.com and StaplesLink.com -- recorded a 24 percent increase in revenue to $234 million as Staples.com posted $5 million in net income.


In other news, Venator Group Inc posted a fiscal second-quarter net loss for the period that ended Aug. 4 of $14 million, including restructuring charges and losses from discontinued operations. This compares with $10 million in net income last year.


The Foot Locker parent and former Woolworth Corp. retail giant completed divestiture plans during the second quarter and plans to change its name to Foot Locker Inc.


Sales from adjusted operations during the quarter totaled $1.031 billion, compared with $944 million in the year-ago quarter.


The company updated its restructuring and discontinued-operations reserves during the quarter.


Adjusted net income from operations during the quarter increased to $28 million, up from $15 million a year ago.


Also, Talbots Inc., Hingham, MA, recorded a 22 percent increase in fiscal second-quarter profits for the period that ended Aug. 4, an amount that was greater than anticipated.


The company, which has e-commerce and catalog operations as well as 762 stores, reported net income of $17.8 million, compared with $14.6 million last year. Talbots expected second-quarter results to meet the high end of its previous forecast of 25 cents to 27 cents per share.


Sales rose 6 percent to $384.3 million from $361.2 million.


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