Staples, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Performance

Staples, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Performance

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Staples, Inc. (NAS: SPLS) announced today the results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended February 2, 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Summary

Fourth Quarter

(dollar amounts in millions)

2012

2011

Change

Total company sales

$6,568

$6,374

3.0%

Total company sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012*

$6,107

$6,374

(4.2%)

GAAP operating income

$314

$469

($155)

Non-GAAP operating income*

$495

$469

$26

GAAP operating income rate

4.8%

7.4%

(257 basis points)

Non-GAAP operating income rate*

7.5%

7.4%

18 basis points

GAAP earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc.

$0.14

$0.41

(66%)

Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc.*

$0.46

$0.41

12%

*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.


"During the fourth quarter we did a great job managing expenses in a challenging sales environment," said Ron Sargent, Staples' chairman and chief executive officer. "We're making progress toward our new vision: Every product your business needs to succeed."

Total company sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $6.6 billion, an increase of three percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding $461 million of sales for the 53rd week in fiscal year 2012, total company sales decreased four percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported fourth quarter 2012 net income of $90 million, or $0.14 per share, from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc., compared to net income of $284 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, achieved in the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding the impact of charges taken during the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported non-GAAP net income from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc. of $308 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, compared to $284 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, achieved in the fourth quarter of 2011. Fourth quarter 2012 results on a GAAP basis include $181 million of pre-tax charges related to European store closures and restructuring, U.S. store closures and accelerated Australia tradename amortization, a $57 million pre-tax charge related to the early extinguishment of debt, as well as a $26 million pre-tax charge related to the termination of the company's existing joint venture agreement in India. The company's fourth quarter 2012 results on a GAAP basis also include pre-tax income of $83 million related to the extra week in 2012.

On a GAAP basis, fourth quarter 2012 operating income rate declined 257 basis points to 4.78 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding the pre-tax charges related to European store closures and restructuring, U.S. store closures and accelerated Australia tradename amortization described above, non-GAAP fourth quarter 2012 operating income rate improved 18 basis points versus the fourth quarter of 2011 to 7.53 percent. This increase primarily reflects reduced incentive compensation and marketing expense, partially offset by lower product margin.

Full Year 2012 Financial Summary

Full Year

(dollar amounts in millions)

2012

2011

Change

Total company sales

$24,381

$24,665

(1.2%)

Total company sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012*

$23,919

$24,665

(3.0%)

GAAP operating income

$510

$1,634

($1,124)

Non-GAAP operating income*

$1,548

$1,634

($86)

GAAP operating income rate

2.1%

6.6%

(453 basis points)

Non-GAAP operating income rate*

6.3%

6.6%

(27 basis points)

GAAP (loss) earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc.

($0.24)

$1.40

NM

Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc.*

$1.39

$1.37

1%

*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 2012, total company sales decreased one percent to $24.4 billion compared to full year 2011. Excluding the favorable impact of the extra week in 2012, total company sales decreased three percent to $23.9 billion versus the prior year.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported a net loss from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc. of $161 million, or $0.24 per share, compared to net income of $988 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, achieved in 2011. Excluding the impact of the charges taken during the fourth quarter of 2012 described above, as well as previously announced charges recorded during 2012 and a tax refund in 2011, the company reported non-GAAP net income from continuing operations attributable to Staples, Inc. of $936 million, or $1.39 per diluted share, during 2012, compared to $967 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, achieved during the prior year.

The company generated operating cash flow of $1.2 billion and invested $350 million in capital expenditures in 2012, resulting in free cash flow of $870 million for the full year. The company utilized free cash flow to repurchase 35 million shares for $449 million and returned $294 million to shareholders through cash dividends in 2012. At the end of the year, the company had $2.5 billion in liquidity, including $1.3 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

New Segment Reporting Structure

As part of Staples' strategic reinvention, the company realigned its business segments during the fourth quarter of 2012 to support growth and better address the changing needs of its customers. Under the new structure, the North American Stores and Online segment includes the company's retail stores and Staples.com businesses in the U.S. and Canada. The North American Commercial segment includes the company's Contract operations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the company's Quill.com business. The International Operations segment includes all of the company's continuing operations outside of the U.S. and Canada.

North American Stores and Online

Fourth Quarter

Full Year

(dollar amounts in millions)

2012

2011

Change

2012

2011

Change

Sales

$3,298

$3,197

3.1%

$11,828

$11,742

0.7%

Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012*

$3,076

$3,197

(3.8%)

$11,606

$11,742

(1.2%)

Comparable store sales

(5.0%)

(2.0%)

Operating income

$317

$296

$21

$987

$1,021

($34)

Operating income rate

9.6%

9.2%

37 basis points

8.3%

8.7%

(35 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 2012 were $3.3 billion, an increase of three percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. This primarily reflects $221 million of sales during the extra week in 2012. Growth in tablets, e-readers, facilities and breakroom supplies, and copy and print services was partially offset by lower sales of computers, digital cameras, and software. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, fourth quarter sales decreased four percent versus the prior year. Comparable store sales, which exclude sales in Staples.com, decreased five percent, reflecting a five percent decline in traffic, and flat average order size versus the prior year. Staples.com sales grew seven percent during the fourth quarter of 2012. Excluding the extra week in 2012, Staples.com sales declined one percent during the fourth quarter of 2012. Operating income rate increased 37 basis points to 9.61 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. This increase primarily reflects lower incentive compensation and marketing expense, partially offset by investments to drive growth in Staples.com. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company closed 32 stores and opened one store in the U.S. and closed one store and opened one store in Canada.

For the full year 2012, North American Stores and Online achieved sales of $11.8 billion, an increase of one percent compared to 2011. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, full year 2012 sales decreased one percent compared to 2011. Comparable store sales decreased two percent versus the prior year. Staples.com sales grew five percent versus the prior year, and increased three percent excluding the extra week in 2012. Full year 2012 operating income rate declined 35 basis points to 8.34 percent versus 2011. In 2012, the company closed 45 stores and opened nine stores in the U.S., and opened eight stores and closed three stores in Canada ending the year with 1,886 stores in North America.

North American Commercial

Fourth Quarter

Full Year

(dollar amounts in millions)

2012

2011

Change

2012

2011

Change

Sales

$2,102

$1,962

7.2%

$8,108

$7,975

1.7%

Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012*

$1,943

$1,962

(0.9%)

$7,949

$7,975

(0.3%)

Operating income

$195

$176

$19

$680

$661

$19

Operating income rate

9.3%

9.0%

31 basis points

8.4%

8.3%

10 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 2012 were $2.1 billion, an increase of seven percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. This primarily reflects $159 million of sales during the extra week in 2012, as well as growth in facilities and breakroom supplies. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, fourth quarter sales decreased one percent versus the prior year. Operating income rate increased 31 basis points to 9.26 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. This increase primarily reflects lower incentive compensation, partially offset by reduced product margin.

For the full year 2012, North American Commercial achieved sales of $8.1 billion, an increase of two percent, and approximately flat excluding the extra week, compared to 2011. Full year 2012 operating income rate increased 10 basis points to 8.39 percent versus 2011.

International Operations

Fourth Quarter

Full Year

(dollar amounts in millions)

2012

2011

Change

2012

2011

Change

Sales

$1,168

$1,215

(3.9%)

$4,444

$4,948

(10.2%)

Sales excluding the 53rd week in 2012*

$1,087

$1,215

(10.5%)

$4,363

$4,948

(11.8%)

Operating (loss) income

$6

$32

($26)

($21)

$103

($124)

Operating (loss) income rate

0.5%

2.7%

(215 basis points)

(0.5%)

2.1%

(256 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 in International Operations for the fourth quarter were $1.2 billion, a decrease of four percent in U.S. dollars, as well as on a local currency basis, compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. These results reflect weak sales in Australia and Europe, partially offset by $81 million of sales during the extra week in 2012. Comparable store sales in Europe declined nine percent with lower traffic driving the majority of the decline versus the prior year. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, sales in International Operations for the fourth quarter decreased 11 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Operating income rate decreased 215 basis points to 0.51 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Excluding $4 million of accelerated Australia tradename amortization during the fourth quarter, operating income rate decreased 177 basis points to 0.89 percent compared to the prior year. This decline primarily reflects lower product margin in Europe and deleverage of fixed expenses in Europe and Australia, partially offset by savings related to headcount reductions in Europe and Australia. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company closed 46 stores in Europe.

For the full year 2012, International Operations achieved sales of $4.4 billion, a decrease of 10 percent in U.S. dollars and a decrease of seven percent on a local currency basis compared to the prior year. Excluding the extra week of sales in 2012, sales for the full year decreased 12 percent in U.S. dollars compared to 2011. Full year 2012 operating income rate declined 256 basis points to an operating loss of 0.48 percent compared to the prior year. Excluding $20 million of accelerated Australia tradename amortization during 2012, operating income rate decreased 211 basis points to a loss of 0.02 percent. In 2012, the company closed 49 stores and opened one store, ending the year with 283 stores in Europe.

Discontinued Operations

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company recorded an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $12 million related to its European Printing Systems business, which includes $2 million of charges related to restructuring. This compares to an after-tax loss of $69 thousand from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year 2012, the company recorded an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $50 million related to its European Printing Systems business, which includes $25 million of charges related to restructuring and incremental tax expense. This compares to an after-tax loss from discontinued operations of $4 million during 2011.

Outlook

The company expects full year 2013 sales to increase in the low single-digits compared to 2012 sales on a 52 week basis of $23.9 billion. The company expects full year 2013 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $1.30 to $1.35. The company expects to generate more than $900 million of free cash flow and plans to continue repurchasing its common stock through open-market purchases during 2013.

"We took important steps in 2012 to reposition the company," said Sargent. "We successfully launched our new strategic plan and made solid progress on our reinvention. We look forward to building on our momentum throughout 2013."

Presentation of Non-GAAP Information

To provide more comparable financial results on a year over year basis, this press release presents certain results with and without the impact of the 53rd week during fiscal year 2012, without the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and without the impact of certain charges described below. Charges for the impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets in the third quarter of 2012 and for accelerated tradename amortization in the third and fourth quarters of 2012 were excluded because such items are non-cash in nature. Management has excluded the store closure and restructuring charges recorded in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, certain tax items recorded in the third quarter of 2012, the loss on early extinguishment of debt in the fourth quarter 2012 and the tax refund in 2011 because the exclusion of such amounts facilitates the comparison of the company's financial results to its historical operating results. The charges related to the termination of the company's joint venture arrangement in India in the fourth quarter of 2012 were excluded because the event is non-recurring in nature. The presentation of results that excludes these items, 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 relevant to certain events and foreign currency fluctuations that impact 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 the limitations resulting from the exclusion of these items by considering the impact of these items separately in GAAP as well as non-GAAP results. In addition, management presents the most comparable GAAP measures ahead of non-GAAP measures and provides a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP financial measure.

Today's Conference Call

The company will host a conference call today at 8:00 a.m. (ET) to review these results and its outlook. Investors may listen to the call at http://investor.staples.com.

About Staples

Staples is the world's largest office products company and second largest internet retailer. For 26 years, Staples has served the needs of business customers and its vision is to provide every product businesses need to succeed. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples offers office supplies, technology products and services, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, copy and print services and a wide range of other product categories. With thousands of associates worldwide dedicated to making it easy for businesses of all sizes, Staples operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (NAS: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.

Certain information contained in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including, but not limited to, the information set forth under "Outlook" and other statements regarding our future business and financial performance. Any statements contained in this news release that are not statements of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements. You can identify forward-looking statements by the use of the words "believes", "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "may", "will", "would", "intends", "estimates", and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or affirmative, although not all forward-looking statements include such words. Forward-looking statements are based on a series of expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections which involve substantial uncertainty and risk, including the review of our assessments by our outside auditor and changes in management's assumptions and projections. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: global economic conditions could adversely affect our business and financial performance; we face uncertainties in connection with the implementation of our strategies to transform our business; we have recognized substantial goodwill impairment charges in the current fiscal year and may be required to recognize additional goodwill impairment charges in the future; our market is highly competitive and we may not be able to continue to compete successfully; if the products and services that we offer fail to meet our customer needs, our performance could be adversely affected; we may be unable to continue to enter new markets successfully; our international operations expose us to risks inherent in foreign operations; failure to manage growth and our operations successfully could adversely affect our financial results; our effective tax rate may fluctuate; fluctuations in foreign exchange rates could lead to lower earnings; we may be unable to attract, train, engage and retain qualified associates; our quarterly operating results are subject to significant fluctuation; our indebtedness could adversely affect us by reducing our flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions; our expanded offering of proprietary branded products may not improve our financial performance and may expose us to intellectual property liability, product liability, import/export liability, government investigations and claims, and other risks associated with global sourcing; problems in our information systems and technologies may disrupt our operations; compromises of our information systems or unauthorized access to confidential information or our customers' or associates' personal information may materially harm our business or damage our reputation; our business may be adversely affected by the actions of and risks associated with third-party vendors and service providers; various legal proceedings may adversely affect our business and financial performance; failure to comply with laws, rules and regulations could negatively affect our business operations and financial performance; and those factors discussed or referenced in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC, under the heading "Risk Factors" and elsewhere, and any subsequent periodic or current reports filed by us with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our estimates only as of the date such statements are made (unless another date is indicated) and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimates change.

STAPLES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

(Dollar Amounts in Thousands, Except Share Data)

(Unaudited)

February 2, 2013

January 28, 2012

ASSETS

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

1,334,302

$

1,264,149

Receivables, net

1,815,586

2,033,680

Merchandise inventories, net

2,314,058

2,431,845

Deferred income tax assets

218,899

305,611

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

346,773

255,535

Current assets of discontinued operations

170,819

Total current assets

6,200,437

6,290,820

Property and equipment:

Land and buildings

1,015,225

1,034,983

Leasehold improvements

1,300,258

1,330,373

Equipment

2,625,949

2,462,351

Furniture and fixtures

1,088,669

1,084,358

Total property and equipment

6,030,101

5,912,065

Less: Accumulated depreciation

4,066,926

3,831,704

Net property and equipment

1,963,175

2,080,361

Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization

384,609

449,781

Goodwill

3,221,162

3,982,130

Other assets

510,622

627,530

Total assets

$

12,280,005

$

13,430,622

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

Current liabilities:

Accounts payable

$

1,896,040

$

2,220,414

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

1,405,752

1,414,721

Debt maturing within one year

987,161

439,143

Current liabilities of discontinued operations

129,672

Total current liabilities

4,418,625

4,074,278

Long-term debt, net of current maturities

1,001,943

1,599,037

Other long-term obligations

723,343

735,094

Stockholders' equity:

Preferred stock, $.01 par value, 5,000,000 shares authorized; no shares issued

Common stock, $.0006 par value, 2,100,000,000 shares authorized; issued and outstanding 932,246,614 and 669,182,785 shares at February 2, 2013 and 922,126,579 shares and 695,743,547 shares at January 28, 2012, respectively

559

553

Additional paid-in capital

4,711,113

4,551,299

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(388,773

)

(319,743

)

Retained earnings

6,694,207