UPDATE 1-Office Depot posts Q1 profit on lower costs

Tue May 1, 2012 7:31am EDT

* Q1 EPS ex-items 5 cents, in line with Street view

* Sales fall 3.4 pct to $2.87 billion

NEW YORK May 1 (Reuters) - Office Depot Inc reported a quarterly profit versus a year-ago loss as the second-largest U.S. office supply retailer kept a tight lid on costs to offset weak sales.

Net earnings were $41 million, or 14 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with a year-ago loss of $15 million, or 5 cents a share.

Excluding one-time charges, debt extinguishment costs and a favorable pension settlement, the profit was 5 cents a share, in line with analysts' average forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 3.4 percent to $2.87 billion, while analysts expected $2.89 billion.