March 6, 2013, 2:10 PM

Web sales increase slightly for Staples in 2012

North American retail comparable-store sales declined.

Allison Enright

Editor

Lead Photo

Staples Inc. generated a modest increase in web sales in 2012, while store sales declined.

For the year ended Feb. 2, Staples, No. 2 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported total North American sales, including stores and Staples.com businesses in the United States and Canada, were $11.83 billion, up 0.8% from $11.74 billion in 2011. Total sales, including commercial and international sales, were $24.38 billion, down 1.2% from $24.67 billion in 2011.

Staples implemented a new segment reporting structure effective with the fourth quarter and full-year earnings statement. It no longer breaks out online sales from store sales in dollar terms. It also introduced a new North American Commercial segment, which includes its contract, business-to-business segments in the United States and Canada, and sales generated on Quill.com. It does not say how much of those sales transact online. It does, however, detail percent changes from the previous year and quarter for online. Using those percentages with Staples’ full-year 2011 earnings for its previously reported Delivery unit, which accounted for web sales, Internet Retailer estimates:

• Full-year web sales increased 5% year over year to $10.605 billion from $10.100 billion in 2011. Excluding an extra week included in the 2012 earnings calendar, Staples says web sales were up 3% in 2012, putting total web sales at $10.4 billion.

• North American retail store comparable-store sales decreased 1% including the extra week and decreased 2% excluding the extra week.

• The North American Commercial unit, including the extra week, generated $8.11 billion in 2012, up 1.6% from $7.98 billion in 2011. Excluding the extra week, Commercial sales were down 0.4% to $7.95 billion.

• Staples’ international operations generated $4.44 billion in sales in 2012, down 10.3% from $4.95 billion in 2011. Excluding the extra week, international sales were down 11.9% to $4.36 billion.

• Staples reported a consolidated net income loss for fiscal 2012 of $210.83 million from a positive income of $983.83 million in 2011, a decline of 121.4%.

Staples in Q4 reported:

• Total sales grew year over year 3.1% to $6.57 billion from $6.37 billion in Q4 2011.

• North American stores and online grew 2.8% to $3.29 billion from $3.20 billion.

Using prior year data for the Delivery unit and percent increases reported by Staples, Internet Retailer estimates:

• Q4 web sales grew 7% to $2.675 billion from $2.500 billion in Q4 2011. Excluding the extra week included in the Q4 earnings calendar, Staples says Staples.com sales declined 1%, putting total web sales at $2.475 billion.

• North American retail store comparable-store sales decreased 5%.

• The North American Commercial unit, including the extra week, in Q4 generated $2.10 billion, up 7.1% from $1.96 billion in Q4 2011. Excluding the extra week, Commercial sales were down 1.0% to $1.94 billion.

• Staples’ international operations generated $1.17 billion in sales in Q4, down 4.1% from $1.22 billion in Q4 2011. Excluding the extra week, international sales were down 10.7% to $1.09 billion.

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