Framingham, Mass. Staples said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit dropped 14% as a series of charges related to last summer's acquisition of a Dutch rival dragged down results.
The retailer said it earned $286 million during the three months ended Jan. 31, down from $333.2 million during the same period a year before.
Besides charges linked to July's acquisition of Corporate Express NV, Staples reversed a $57 million non-cash charge recorded in the third quarter.
Sales climbed 16% to $6.17 billion, from $5.32 billion, helped by the addition of Corporate Express. Same-store sales fell 13% in North America as shoppers spent less on computers, accessories and furniture.
For the year, profit fell 19% to $805.3 million, from $995.7 million a year ago. Sales increased to $23.08 billion, from $19.37 billion.
Staples said it ended 2008 with liquidity of about $1.6 billion, consisting of $634 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $936 million of available credit. The company said it wouldn't provide an earnings or sales outlook because of the murky economic environment.