Staples reported a decline in first-quarter profit as the retail giant suffered from lower sales internationally and severance costs associated with layoffs.
Net income for the first quarter declined to $187 million from $198 million in the prior-year quarter. Headcount reductions over the last year have amounted to 500: about 200 in the company’s operations in North America and the rest in Europe and Australia.
Total company sales for the first quarter of 2012 were $6.1 billion, a decrease of 1 percent in US dollars and flat on a local currency basis compared with the first quarter of 2011
Internationally, sales dropped 8 percent in U.S. dollars and 5 percent in local currencies, reflecting weak sales in Australia and Europe.
In North American Delivery segment, sales increased 2 percent from last year. North American Retail segment sales were flat compared to the first quarter of 2011.
Ron Sargent, chairman and chief executive officer of the company said, "In North America we continue to build momentum in categories beyond office supplies while trends in our international business remain soft."