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(Reuters) - Staples Inc (SPLS.O), the largest U.S. office supply retailer, reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales, hurt by weak demand in Europe, and cut its profit forecast for the year.
Staples' weak sales report comes after smaller rivals Office Depot Inc ODP.N and OfficeMax Inc OMX.N also posted lower-than-expected revenue in their latest quarter.
Third-quarter sales outside the United States fell 1.9 percent to $1.3 billion, mostly due to a 12 percent decrease in comparable-store sales in Europe and lower sales in Australia.
European shoppers are struggling with a mix of inflation and high unemployment rates, against the backdrop of the euro zone's debt crisis.
In the third quarter ended on October 29, net income rose to $326.3 million, or 47 cents a share, matching the average estimate as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. A year earlier it earned $288.7 million, or 40 cents a share.
Sales rose slightly to $6.57 billion, compared with the average estimate of $6.72 billion.
Staples expects to earn a net profit of $1.38 to $1.42 a share for the full year, down from its previous outlook of $1.42 to $1.48.
Reporting by Mihir Dalal and Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Derek Caney