Staples Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2013 Performance
The company generated operating cash flow of $875 million and invested $204 million in capital expenditures year to date, resulting in year to date free cash flow of $671 million. The company repurchased 6.8 million shares for $104 million during the third quarter of 2013, and has
North American Stores and Online
Sales for the third quarter of 2013 were $3.0 billion, a decrease of five percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. Third quarter 2013 sales growth was negatively impacted by approximately one percent due to 59 store closures during the 12 months preceding the third quarter of 2013, net of estimated sales transfers to remaining stores. The sales decline also reflects weakness in office supplies, business machines and technology accessories, as well as computers, partially offset by growth in tablets, facilities and break room supplies, and copy and print services. Comparable store sales, which exclude sales in Staples.com, decreased three percent, reflecting a three percent decline in traffic and flat average order size versus the prior year. Staples.com sales grew three percent during the third quarter of 2013. The sales increase reflects increased customer traffic and stable customer conversion, partially offset by lower average order size. Operating income rate decreased 88 basis points to 9.47 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. This decline primarily reflects increased costs related to growth initiatives in Staples.com, and the negative impact of fixed expenses on lower sales, partially offset by reduced retail store labor expense and marketing expense. During the third quarter of 2013, the company closed 7 stores in the U.S.
North American Commercial
Sales for the third quarter of 2013 were $2.1 billion, an increase of one percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. This primarily reflects growth in facilities and break room supplies, tablets, and furniture, partially offset by declines in office supplies, paper, and ink and toner. Operating income rate decreased 126 basis points to 7.60 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. This decline primarily reflects investments in sales force and marketing costs to drive growth.