Framingham, Mass. – Staples Inc. attributed a 44% drop in net earnings during the first quarter of fiscal 2014 to lower sales caused by store closures and a rise in the value of the dollar. Net earnings of $96 million were 44% below net earnings of $170 million reported a year earlier.
Net sales dropped 3% to $5.65 billion from $5.81 billion. Staples said about 1% of that decline was caused by 16 North American store closures and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. For second quarter 2014, the company expects sales to decrease versus second quarter 2013.
“We’re making progress meeting the changing needs of our customers as we reinvent Staples,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and CEO. “Despite a slow start to the first quarter, our results were in line with our expectations and we expect to build momentum throughout 2014.”