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 user 2009-08-04 at 9:09:25 pm Views: 35
  • #22403
    * Q2 loss $0.22/shr vs. Street est. loss $0.12
    * Sales to small businesses, consumers fall in slump
    * Sees “modest” EBIT loss for second half of 2009
    * Sees competition intensifying this back-to-school
    * Stock down 20 pct; drags shares of Staples,

    Aug 09 – Office Depot Inc reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly
    loss and warned of a “modest” loss in earnings before interest and tax
    in the second half of 2009 as the recession weighs on sales at the No.
    2 U.S. office supplies retailer.The lackluster results dragged its
    stock down as much as 20 percent, making it one of the top percentage
    losers on the New York Stock Exchange. The results also weighed on
    shares of rivals OfficeMax Inc and industry leader Staples Inc.

    sellers have been struggling as consumers and small businesses become
    frugal in the economic downturn. Sales of big-ticket items such as
    furniture and computers have been particularly dismal.Office Depot’s
    disappointing results came even as prices were somewhat stable and as
    it pushed vendors for additional support, Credit Suisse analyst Gary
    Balter wrote in a note to clients.”Without these two factors one
    wonders just how weak results would have been,” Balter, who rates the
    shares “neutral,” said.”Investors searching for a secondary player in
    the sector would do better with OfficeMax and those looking for
    leadership in the sector would be better with Staples as an
    investment,” he added.The second-quarter net loss at Boca Raton,
    Florida-based Office Depot widened to $82 million, or 31 cents a share,
    from $2 million, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier.Excluding charges,
    it reported a loss of 22 cents a share, while analysts, on average, had
    expected a loss of 12 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

    year, the back-to-school season takes on even more importance for
    office supply retailers, as cutbacks in Corporate America have hurt
    sales to business customers.
    Office Depot, which sees this
    back-to-school season being highly promotional, said it expects
    competition to be “very aggressive” in what should be one of its
    busiest selling periods.
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc has expanded its
    laptop selection by 40 percent and announced plans to be aggressive in
    pricing computers and the accessories that go with them.
    Unlike the
    first quarter in which Office Depot posted a surprising profit on
    strict expense control, cost-cuts failed to offset the sales volume
    decline in the second quarter.
    While sales fell 22 percent to $2.8
    billion, operating expenses — adjusted for charges — fell $143
    million in the latest second quarter.Office Depot has laid off workers,
    closed stores and distribution centers and trimmed capital spending in
    a bid to slash costs in the slump.

    Sales at U.S. and Canadian
    stores open at least a year, a key measurement of retailer health, fell
    18 percent.The company reduced promotions at its North American stores,
    which also hurt sales.The London-based private equity firm BC Partners
    invested $350 million in Office Depot last month, relieving some
    concerns regarding the company’s ability to repay debt. Office Depot
    said it was continuing to pursue other internal sources of
    liquidity.The company, which took pretax charges of about $35 million
    in the quarter, sees between $85 million and $115 million in additional
    charges for the rest of 2009.Office Depot shares fell to a low of
    $4.33, down more than 19 percent in early afternoon trade on the New
    York Stock Exchange. OfficeMax’s stock was down 47 cents at $7.17,
    while shares of Staples were 50 cents lower at $20.91.