Staples, Inc. announced the results for its second quarter ended August 3, 2013. Total company sales for the second quarter of 2013 were $5.3 billion, a decrease of two percent compared to the second quarter of 2012. Second quarter 2013 total company sales growth was negatively impacted by approximately one percent due to 103 store closures in North America and Europe during the 12 months preceding the second quarter of 2013.
Second quarter 2013 operating income rate declined 65 basis points versus the second quarter of 2012 to 3.53 percent. This decrease primarily reflects lower product margins, the negative impact of fixed expenses on lower sales, and investments related to the company’s strategic initiatives. The company reported second quarter 2013 income from continuing operations of $104 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to $125 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, during the second quarter of 2012.
“We continue to make progress on our strategic plan to reinvent Staples,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer. “We drove online sales growth and aggressively managed expenses during the second quarter, but this progress was offset by weakness in our retail stores and international businesses.”
The company generated operating cash flow of $348 million and invested $124 million in capital expenditures year to date, resulting in free cash flow of $224 million for the first half of 2013, an increase of $93 million compared to the first half of 2012. The company repurchased 6.4 million shares for $100 million during the second quarter of 2013. At the end of the second quarter, the company had $2.3 billion in liquidity, including $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents.