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Staples: Shares Drop as Earnings Miss

European sales fall sharply while North America stays flat


Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) announced Wednesday morning that its fiscal first-quarter earnings dropped 5.6% to $187.1 million, down from $198.2 million during the same time last year. EPS was 29 cents a share for the quarter, down a penny from 28 cents in 2011.

Sales edged lower to $6.1 billion, down 1.1% from last year, mostly due to declining sales in Europe.

The results disappointed analysts who had predicted EPS of 30 cents on sales of $6.18 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Investors weren’t pleased with the results either. Staples’ shares tumbled more than 6% in Wednesday afternoon trading.

Falling sales in Europe sent the company’s international sales down 8% to $1.23 billion. North American sales were flat at $2.32 billion, as were same-store North American sales. European same-store sales fell 6%.

International sales account for 20% of Staples overall sales. The company’s gross margin slipped to 26.4% from 26.5%.

CEO Ron Sargent said the company was moving to address declining overseas results.

Staples announced 300 job cuts in its European and Australian operations during the first quarter.

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