* Third-quarter adj earnings/shr $0.46 vs est $0.45
* Sales $6.35 bln vs est $6.45 bln
* Reiterates full-year sales, profit forecast
* Shares up 4.5 percent in early trade
Nov 14 Staples Inc's quarterly profit
edged past Wall Street's estimates as the largest U.S. office
supply chain cut costs and sales in North America held up,
although weakness in Europe and Australia hit overall revenue.
Shares of the company, which also reiterated its full-year
profit and sales forecasts, rose 4.5 percent in early trading.
Staples outlined plans in September to close 30 stores in
North America and 45 stores in Europe.
"These results indicate that Staples' restructuring plans
are stemming the declines in the business," J.P. Morgan
Securities analyst Christopher Horvers wrote in a client note.
Results from smaller rivals Office Depot Inc and
OfficeMax Inc last week also showed how they relied on
tight cost controls to offset weaker-than-expected sales in the
Office supply chains are considered a good gauge of economic
health because demand for their products is closely tied to
white-collar employment rates.
Staples, whose shares were down 20 percent this year up to
Tuesday, plans to tweak its product offering to boost sales as
U.S. shoppers are increasingly choosing mobile computing devices
such as tablets and e-readers over traditional computers.
"Customers that once only needed paper, ink and toner now
need tablets and smartphones and technology accessories. (They)
also want the convenience of mobile shopping and fast delivery,"
CEO Ronald Sargent said on a post-earnings conference call.
The company is building its online sales and mobile commerce
businesses as it tries to fend off competition from online
chains such as Amazon.com Inc.
Sales at Staples have suffered as corporate customers and
other shoppers cut back on discretionary spending in the weak
global economy, forcing the chain to keep a tight lid on costs.
But Staples reported North American delivery sales rose 1
percent in the third quarter even as retail sales remained flat.
Overall sales fell about 2 percent to $6.35 billion.
Analysts on average were looking for revenue of $6.45
billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Staples' adjusted profit of 46 cents per share beat
estimates by 1 cent per share, although restructuring costs took
it to a net loss. The company incurred impairment and
restructuring charges of about $840 million in the quarter.
The company posted a net loss of $596.3 million, or 89 cents
per share, compared with a profit of $326.4 million, or 47 cents
per share, a year earlier.