FRAMINGHAM, MA - Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced today the results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended February 1, 2014.

“A year ago, we announced a plan to fundamentally reinvent our company”

Fourth Quarter 2013 Financial Summary

Fourth Quarter
(dollar amounts in millions) 2013 2012 Change
Total company sales including the 53rd week in 2012 $ 5,873 $ 6,568 -10.6 %
Total company sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $ 5,873 $ 6,107 -3.8 %
GAAP operating income $ 338 $ 314 $ 24
Non-GAAP operating income* $ 338 $ 495 ($157 )
GAAP operating income rate 5.8 % 4.8 % 98 basis points
Non-GAAP operating income rate* 5.8 % 7.5 % (177 basis points)
GAAP income from continuing operations $ 212 $ 90 $ 122
Non-GAAP income from continuing operations* $ 212 $ 308 ($96 )
GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations $ 0.33 $ 0.14 136 %
Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations* $ 0.33 $ 0.46 -28 %

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about these non-GAAP measures. Fourth quarter 2012 non-GAAP measures include results for the 53rd week in 2012, unless otherwise noted.

“A year ago, we announced a plan to fundamentally reinvent our company,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer. “With nearly half of our sales generated online today, we’re meeting the changing needs of business customers and taking aggressive action to reduce costs and improve efficiency.”

2013 Reinvention Highlights

  • Accelerated growth on Staples.com with sales up 10 percent in the fourth quarter*
  • Ended 2013 with over 500,000 products on Staples.com versus 100,000 at the beginning of the year
  • Rolled out new contract team-based selling model to accelerate growth beyond office supplies
  • Aggressively reduced costs and achieved full year profitability in Europe
  • Eliminated approximately $200 million of gross costs to fund reinvention growth priorities
  • Eliminated over one million square feet in North American stores through 40 net store closures and 40 downsizes and relocations
  • Re-launched brand with new “Make More Happen” campaign

*Excludes sales generated during the 53rd week of 2012, as well as the unfavorable impact related to changes in foreign exchange rates in the fourth quarter of 2013. On a GAAP basis, Staples.com sales grew 1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Total company sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $5.9 billion. Excluding $461 million of sales recorded during the 53rd week in fiscal year 2012, total company sales decreased four percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Fourth quarter 2013 total company sales growth was negatively impacted by approximately one percent due to 109 store closures in North America and Europe during the 12 months preceding the fourth quarter of 2013. Changes in foreign exchange rates also negatively impacted total company sales growth by one percent during the fourth quarter of 2013.

On a GAAP basis, fourth quarter 2013 total company operating income rate increased 98 basis points to 5.76 percent. Excluding the impact of charges taken during the fourth quarter of 2012, total company operating income rate decreased 177 basis points. The company’s results for the fourth quarter of 2012 included pre-tax income of $83 million related to the extra week in 2012.

The company reported fourth quarter 2013 income from continuing operations of $212 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, compared to $90 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, achieved in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Full Year 2013 Financial Summary

Full Year
(dollar amounts in millions) 2013 2012 Change
Total company sales including the 53rd week in 2012 $23,114 $24,381 -5.2%
Total company sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $23,114 $23,919 -3.4%
GAAP operating income $1,178 $510 $667
Non-GAAP operating income* $1,242 $1,548 ($307)
GAAP operating income rate 5.1% 2.1% 300 basis points
Non-GAAP operating income rate* 5.4% 6.3% (98 basis points)
GAAP income from continuing operations $707 ($161) $868
Non-GAAP income from continuing operations* $761 $936 ($175)
GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations $1.07 ($0.24) NM
Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations* $1.16 $1.39 -17%

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about these non-GAAP measures. Full year 2012 non-GAAP measures include results for the 53rd week in 2012, unless otherwise noted.

For the full year 2013, total company sales were $23.1 billion. Excluding the extra week in 2012, a one percent negative impact due to store closures, and a one percent negative impact due to changes in foreign exchange rates, full year 2013 total company sales decreased approximately two percent versus the prior year.

On a GAAP basis, full year 2013 total company operating income rate increased 300 basis points to 5.09 percent. Excluding the impact of charges taken during 2013 and 2012, total company operating income rate decreased 98 basis points.

The company reported full year 2013 income from continuing operations of $707 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $161 million, or $0.24 per share, achieved in the full year of 2012. Excluding charges taken during 2013, total company non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.16 for the full year.

The company generated operating cash flow of $1.1 billion and invested $371 million in capital expenditures in 2013, resulting in free cash flow of $737 million for the full year. The company utilized free cash flow to repurchase 21 million shares for $306 million and returned $313 million to shareholders through cash dividends in 2013. At the end of 2013, the company had $1.6 billion in liquidity, including $493 million in cash and cash equivalents.

North American Stores and Online
Fourth Quarter Full Year
(dollar amounts in millions) 2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Sales including the 53rd week in 2012 $ 2,900 $ 3,298 -12.1% $ 11,103 $ 11,828 -6.1%
Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $ 2,900 $ 3,076 -5.7% $ 11,103 $ 11,606 -4.3%
Comparable store sales -7% -4%
Operating income $ 176 $ 317 ($141) $ 733 $ 987 ($254)
Operating income rate 6.1 % 9.6 % (355 basis points) 6.6 % 8.3 % (174 basis points)

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about this non-GAAP measure.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $2.9 billion, a decrease of 12 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Excluding $221 million of sales during the extra week in 2012, fourth quarter 2013 sales decreased six percent. Changes in foreign exchange rates negatively impacted fourth quarter 2013 sales growth by approximately one percent. Sales growth was also negatively impacted by approximately one percent due to 63 store closures during the 12 months preceding the fourth quarter of 2013, net of estimated sales transfers to remaining stores. Sales declines in business machines and technology accessories, office supplies, and computers, were partially offset by growth in facilities and breakroom supplies, paper, and copy and print. Comparable store sales, which exclude sales in Staples.com, decreased seven percent, reflecting a six percent decline in traffic and a one percent decline in average order size versus the prior year. Staples.com sales grew 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013, after excluding the impact of the extra week in 2012 and changes in foreign exchange rates. This reflects increased customer traffic and improved customer conversion. Operating income rate decreased 355 basis points to 6.07 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This decline primarily reflects lower product margins in Staples.com, an unfavorable comparison to the highly profitable extra week last year, the negative impact of fixed costs on lower sales, and increased costs related to growth initiatives in Staples.com. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the company closed 10 stores and opened one store in the U.S. and closed two stores in Canada.

For the full year 2013, North American Stores and Online achieved sales of $11.1 billion, a decrease of 6.1 percent compared to 2012. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, a one percent negative impact due to store closures, and a one percent negative impact due to changes in foreign exchange rates, full year 2013 sales decreased approximately three percent compared to 2012. Full year 2013 operating income rate declined 174 basis points to 6.6 percent versus 2012. In 2013, the company closed 34 stores and opened 2 stores in the U.S. and closed 8 stores in Canada ending the year with 1,846 stores in North America.

North American Commercial
Fourth Quarter Full Year
(dollar amounts in millions) 2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Sales including the 53rd week in 2012 $ 1,963 $ 2,102 -6.6 % $ 8,042 $ 8,108 -0.8 %
Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $ 1,963 $ 1,943 1.0 % $ 8,042 $ 7,949 1.2 %
Operating income $ 167 $ 195 ($28 ) $ 604 $ 680 ($76 )
Operating income rate 8.5 % 9.3 % (75 basis points) 7.5 % 8.4 % (88 basis points)

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about this non-GAAP measure.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $2.0 billion, a decrease of seven percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Excluding $159 million of sales during the extra week in 2012 and changes in foreign exchange rates, sales increased two percent. This primarily reflects growth in facilities and breakroom supplies, as well as tablets, partially offset by declines in paper, ink and toner, and office supplies. Operating income rate decreased 75 basis points to 8.51 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This decline primarily reflects an unfavorable comparison to the highly profitable extra week last year, and investments in sales force to drive growth, partially offset by improved product margins.

For the full year 2013, North American Commercial achieved sales of $8.0 billion, a decrease of one percent compared to 2012. Excluding the extra week last year, full year 2013 sales increased one percent compared to the prior year. Full year 2013 operating income rate decreased 88 basis points to 7.51 percent versus 2012.

International Operations
Fourth Quarter Full Year
(dollar amounts in millions) 2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Sales including the 53rd week in 2012 $ 1,010 $ 1,168 -13.5 % $ 3,969 $ 4,444 -10.7 %
Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012* $ 1,010 $ 1,087 -7.1 % $ 3,969 $ 4,363 -9.0 %
Operating income (loss) $ 14 $ 6 $ 8 ($15 ) ($21 ) $ 6
Operating income (loss) rate 1.3 % 0.5 % 83 basis points -0.4 % -0.5 % 9 basis points

*Indicates a non-GAAP measure. Refer to “Presentation of Non-GAAP Information” and the accompanying reconciliations for more detailed information about this non-GAAP measure.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $1.0 billion, a decrease of 13 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. Excluding $81 million of sales during the extra week in 2012, sales decreased seven percent. Fourth quarter 2013 sales growth was negatively impacted by approximately two percent due to 46 store closures during the 12 months preceding the fourth quarter of 2013. Changes in foreign exchange rates also negatively impacted fourth quarter 2013 sales growth by approximately one percent. The decline was also driven by weakness in European delivery and Australia. Comparable store sales in Europe declined one percent reflecting a one percent decline in average order size and flat traffic versus the prior year. Operating income rate increased 83 basis points to 1.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This increase primarily reflects improved product margins in Europe and reduced amortization expense in Australia, partially offset by the negative impact of fixed costs on lower sales and the unfavorable comparison to the highly profitable extra week last year.

For the full year 2013, International Operations achieved sales of $4.0 billion, a decrease of 11 percent. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, a two percent negative impact due to store closures, and a one percent negative impact due to changes in foreign exchange rates, full year 2013 sales decreased approximately six percent compared to 2012. Full year 2013 operating income rate increased 9 basis points to an operating loss of 0.38 percent compared to the prior year. The company ended the year with 282 stores in Europe.

Outlook

The company initiated a plan to close up to 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015. The company also initiated a multi-year cost savings plan which is expected to generate annualized pre-tax cost savings of approximately $500 million by the end of 2015. The savings are expected to come from supply chain, retail store closures and labor optimization, non-product related costs, IT hardware and services, marketing, sales force, and customer service.

For the first quarter of 2014, the company expects sales to decrease versus the first quarter of 2013. The company expects to achieve fully diluted earnings per share in the range of $0.17 to $0.22 for the first quarter of 2014. This guidance does not reflect any potential impact on sales or earnings per share related to 2014 restructuring activities. The company also expects to generate more than $600 million of free cash flow for the full year 2014, which reflects cash payments related to previously announced restructuring activities and the company’s consideration of the impact from potential 2014 restructuring activities.

Presentation of Non-GAAP Information

This press release presents certain results in 2013 with and without restructuring charges, as well as certain results in 2012 with and without the impact of goodwill and long-lived asset impairment charges, restructuring charges, accelerated tradename amortization, loss on early extinguishment of debt, charges related to the termination of the Company’s joint venture in India, and certain tax items. This press release also presents certain results for 2012 and 2013 both with and without the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. This press release also presents certain results without the impact of the 53rd week in fiscal year 2012. The presentation of these results, as well as the presentation of free cash flow, are non-GAAP financial measures that should be considered in addition to, and should not be considered superior to, or as a substitute for, the presentation of results determined in accordance with GAAP. Management believes that the non-GAAP financial measures enable management and investors to understand and analyze the company’s performance by providing meaningful information that facilitates the comparability of underlying business results from period to period. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the operating results of the company’s business against prior year results and its operating plan, and to forecast and analyze future periods. Management recognizes there are limitations associated with the use of non-GAAP financial measures as they may reduce comparability with other companies that use different methods to calculate similar non-GAAP measures. Management generally compensates for these limitations by considering GAAP as well as non-GAAP results. In addition, management provides a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP financial measure.

About Staples

Staples makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it’s in-store, online or on mobile devices. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Copy and Print services. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.

Source: Staples Inc.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.