March 6, 2001, 12:00 AM

Staples web traffic increase 400%

Web-based sales for Staples Inc., the office supply seller, increased fivefold last year while companywide revenue grew 19%.

Web-based sales for Staples Inc., the office supply seller, increased fivefold last year, the company reported today, while companywide revenue grew 19% to $10.7 billion. Staples did not break out sales number for its web site. In addition, the company last year integrated web access to all its stores, increasing inventory available to the store by 100,000 items. Comparable sales increased 7% overall and 4% for the retail business. Net income for the year, excluding one-time items, was $261 million compared with $315 million for the prior year. Staples reported sales of $3.1 billion for the fourth quarter ended February 3, an 18% increase over the $2.6 billion reported for the same period last year. Comparable sales grew 3% overall and were flat for the retail business. Net income for the quarter, excluding one-time items, was $94 million, compared to $119 million for the same period in the prior year. In the fourth quarter, the company recorded a previously announced $206 million charge related to the write-down of its investments in Staples Communications and a number of Internet companies.

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