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Staples, who acquired the Corporate Express business in Australia and operate a Staples branded web site in Australia, has reported a slump in Australian sales.Total company sales for the second quarter of 2012 were $5.5 billion, a decrease of 6 percent compared with the second quarter of 2011.

Net income was $120.4 million, down from the prior year’s $176.4 million, while operating income was $220 million, down from the prior year’s $278.1 million.

“Our second quarter results fell short of our expectations due to softer than expected sales trends in North America and ongoing weakness in Australia,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer. “We continue to build momentum in categories beyond office supplies, but these improvements were more than offset by weakness in computers and core office supplies during the second quarter.”

Sales in International Operations for the second quarter were US$1.1 billion, a decrease of 18 percent in U.S. dollars compared to the second quarter of 2011. Australian sales fell 9%The US company said that this decrease primarily reflects deleverage of fixed expenses in Europe and Australia, as well as lower product margins in Europe. During the second quarter, the company closed one store, ending the second quarter of 2012 with 375 stores in International Operations.

Lower sales of computers, software and computer accessories were somewhat offset by growth of copy and print, mobile phones and accessories, and facilities and other supplies, Staples said.

 

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