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Staples swings to profit but sales fall

Framingham, Mass. -- Staples reported net earnings of $135.2 million for the third quarter ended Nov. 2, compared with a loss of $596.2 million a year earlier.

Sales fell to $6.11 billion from $6.35 billion as the retailer was challenged by soft demand for its products and closed stores in Europe and North America. Same-store sales in North America, excluding sales through Staples.com, fell 3%.

"We continue to face weak demand for core office supplies, but we're driving growth online and in new categories, while aggressively managing expenses," said chairman and CEO Ron Sargent.