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Can the Office Depot deal save Staples?


Staples says the $6.3 billion deal to buy rival Office Depot is still on track despite the retailer’s deepening sales declines in the second quarter.

The company reported that for the second quarter ended Aug. 1 it earned $36 million, or 6 cents per share, down from $82 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs and costs related to mergers and acquisitions, were 12 cents per share.Same store sales dropped 2%.The company's revenue fell 5.4% to $4.94 billion in the period as store closings and a stronger U.S. dollar cut into sales.

“Our second quarter results were in-line with our expectations and reflect steady progress on our strategic reinvention,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer. “We continued to drive growth in our delivery businesses and in categories beyond office supplies, and we grew operating income during the second quarter. We remain on track with the acquisition of Office Depot, which we expect to close by the end of 2015.”

The company closed 15 stores during the second quarter, part of a plan to close at least 225 stores by the end of this year.

Staples said a strong U.S. dollar will continue to crimp revenue and profit in the current quarter. It expects earnings between 33 cents and 36 cents per share.

The Staples-Office Depot deal is still up for approval from the Federal Trade Commission and other international regulatory agencies, and is anticipated to close by the end of the year.

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