Office Depot to Close 300 More Stores

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Office Depot Inc., three months after its proposed tie-up with larger rival Staples Inc. failed regulatory muster, said it would launch a quarterly dividend and close an additional 300 stores as it charts a course for remaining a stand-alone company.

Office Depot completed its strategic review of the business and announced moves such as growing its contract channel, optimizing retail operations in North America, implementing multiyear cost reductions and returning capital to shareholders.

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Meanwhile, the company said Wednesday it swung to a profit in the latest period, though revenue slipped. The earnings results, on an adjusted basis, missed Wall Street expectations.

The company plans to trim $250 million in costs by 2018 and initiated a quarterly dividend program at 2.5 cents a share, payable on Sept. 15 to shareholders of record by Aug. 25. The company didn't specify job cuts were part of its plan to trim expenses but said it would lower overall general and administrative costs.

Office Depot closed 42 stores in the second quarter, ending the period with 1,513 stores in North America ?as part of its earlier plan to close 400 stores. But Wednesday it said it would close an additional 300 stores on top of that.

Office Depot's results have been weighed down recently amid a declining market as an increasingly digital workplace continues to hurt sales.

Staples agreed in February 2015 to buy Office Depot for about $6.3 billion. In 2013, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved Office Depot's takeover of the smaller OfficeMax. But the FTC argued its tie-up with Staples would mean higher prices and fewer options for big companies that buy office supplies in bulk.

In all for the June quarter, Office Depot earned $210 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier's loss of $58 million, or 11 cents a share. Excluding items, earnings were three cents a share, compared with six cents a year earlier. Revenue slipped to 6% to $3.22 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had projected per-share earnings of six cents on revenue of $3.21 billion.

Shares were inactive in premarket trading.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at