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It Ain't All Easy At Staples


Staples offers new promotions to fight back-to-school slump.

Staples (SPLS) is banking on the back-to-school season to boost sales amid a 16% drop in fiscal second-quarter income. In addition to weekly promotional deals, the office supply retailer has teamed up with Bed, Bath, & Beyond (BBBY) in a sweepstakes campaign targeted at college students. Both retailers are facing mounting pressure from a consumer spending slowdown during what is typically one of their biggest shopping seasons.

"Like everyone, Staples is sensitive to the state of the economy and concerns of our customers," Shira Goodman, executive vice president of marketing at Staples said in statement. "Our entire back-to-school campaign underscores the fact that Staples offers a wide assortment of products at great prices. We're offering parents an affordable solution to help save money for life's other necessities-like gas for your car."

For the quarter, Staples reported net income of $150.2 million, down $28.6 million from a year earlier. The company also said that sales in North America were down about 1% as same-store sales fell 7%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the drop in sales, overall revenue has been boosted by Staples acquisition of Corporate Express NV last July. At $4.8 billion, the acquisition is the largest in Staples' history. Analysts expect the move to help Staples provide large orders of office supplies for to bigger companies. Staples reported that international sales, buoyed by Corporate Express NV, rose 69% to $1 billion.

The grand prize winner of the college sweepstakes will win up to $10,000 in gift certificates to both Staples and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. For customers without that kind of cash, consider trading down from the TI-83 calculator to the nearly identical TI-81, and pricey 5 Star notebooks to...3 Stars.

For more on Staples, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.

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