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Staples profit off 33%


Framingham, Mass. Staples reported a 33% drop in profit for its first quarter as the ongoing recession led to cutbacks in corporate and consumer demand for durable items such as business machines and furniture.

Net earnings fell to $147.0 million in the quarter that ended May 2 from $212.2 million a year earlier. The results included integration and restructuring expenses of $19 million.

Quarterly sales, including the results of Corporate Express, rose 19% to $5.82 billion. Staples bought Dutch office-supplies company Corporate Express last year.

Staples said it was on track with its Corporate Express integration efforts, including pricing negotiations with vendors and reducing the percentage of small orders.

North American retail sales fell 9% to $2.2 billion as same-store sales declined 8%, reflecting declines in average order size and weakness in durable goods.

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