Sales weakness abroad hurts Staples


Staples Inc, the largest U.S. office supply retailer, reported a drop in quarterly profit on Wednesday, hurt by weak sales in international markets such as Europe and Australia.

Net earnings fell to $102.5 million, or 16 cents a share in the second quarter ended on Aug. 3 from $120.4 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier.

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Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 18 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 2 percent to $5.31 billion, falling short of the analysts' average estimate of $5.37 billion. Sales in the international business fell 8 percent.

Lower customer traffic led to a 6 percent decline in sales at European stores open at least a year. The retailer also tied some of the weakness to the closure of 49 European stores.