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Staples reports 1Q sales, earnings growth


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced that total company sales for its first quarter ended May 3 increased 6% to $4.9 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income rose 2% year-over-year to $212 million, and earnings per share, on a diluted basis, increased 3% to 30 cents, from the 29 cents achieved in the first quarter of last year.

The company reported that North American retail sales grew 2% in the first quarter, and comparable-store sales decreased 6% versus 2007, reflecting declines in customer traffic and average order size.

We are pleased to deliver solid results in a challenging quarter, said Ron Sargent, Staples chairman and ceo. We continue to gain share while we invest in growth ideas to strengthen our market position. 

The company expects to achieve mid single-digit sales growth and high single-digit earnings per share growth for 2008, excluding the previously disclosed impact to 2007 earnings for the $38 million pre-tax charge ($24 million after-tax or 4 cents per diluted share) related to the settlement of California wage and hour class action litigation. The company expects flat earnings per share growth for the second quarter. The companys guidance for future periods excludes any potential impact relating to its previously announced proposal to acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Corporate Express N.V.

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