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Staples Announces 4Q Results

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. Staples announced the results for its fiscal year and fourth quarter ended January 29, 2005.

For fiscal year 2004, sales reached $14.4 billion, an 11 percent increase compared to 2003. Full year North American Retail comparable store sales increased four percent. The company reported 2004 net income of $708 million, or earnings per share on a diluted basis of $1.40, an increase of 41 percent on a GAAP basis from 2003. The company incurred a $62 million non-cash adjustment (net of taxes) as a result of the application of EITF 02-16 in the first quarter of 2003. On a pro forma basis, excluding the impact of EITF 02-16, net income increased 28 percent and earnings per share increased 25 percent versus 2003. Total company operating margins for the year rose to 7.8 percent.

Total company sales for the fourth quarter grew 13 percent compared to the same quarter of 2003 to $4.1 billion. North American Retail continued its strong performance, with sales increasing eight percent and same store sales rising four percent versus last year. North American Delivery quarterly sales increased 19 percent with double-digit growth in each of its three business units. International operations grew sales 22 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2003. Total company net income of $251 million, or earnings per share on a diluted basis of $0.50, rose 19 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2003.

The company also announced that its board of directors has approved an annual cash dividend of $0.25 per share payable on April 14, 2005, to shareholders of record on March 28, 2005. This represents a 25 percent increase over the dividend of $0.20 per share paid in 2004. The board also authorized a three-for-two stock dividend effective to shareholders of record on March 29, 2005, with a payment date of April 15, 2005.

“Our 65,000 associates had a great year in 2004, delivering strong results, differentiating Staples’ brand and advancing our market leadership around the world,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ president and CEO.

“We’re starting off 2005 on rock solid footing,” said Sargent. “Trends are strong, our team’s execution has never been better and we are driving improvements in all areas of our business.”

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Staples Announces 4Q Results
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