Office Depot reports Q1 loss amid weak sales

Boca Raton, Fla. -- Office Depot reported a first quarter loss of $5.4 million, down from a profit of $29.5 million in the prior-year period, amid weaker sales and a higher tax rate.

Total company sales for the quarter were $2.97 billion, down 3% from last year.

Last month, Office Depot was forced to restate its 2010 earnings, turning a net profit into a loss, due to a tax error. The chain also is looking for a permanent chief executive and has recently settled charges of improper pricing under certain state and local government contracts.

“Our first-quarter operating results were lower than the prior year due to the impact of lower sales,” said interim chairman and CEO Neil Austrian. “However, we are encouraged by the progress we’re making throughout the enterprise to improve the future operating performance of the company.”

Sales in the North American retail division were $1.3 billion, down 2% compared to a year ago. Same-store sales fell 1%.

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