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Office Depot profit doubles on one-time gains; adjusted results miss Street

BY Marianne Wilson

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot’s fiscal third-quarter net income more than doubled, but its adjusted results missed analysts’ expectations amid sales declines in North America.

The company earned $91.7 million for the period ended Sept. 24, compared with $32 million a year earlier. But excluding $6 million in restructuring charges and other costs and a $99 million tax benefit, the company lost about $700,000, or break-even per share.

Revenue decreased 2% to $2.84 billion from $2.9 billion amid declining for its North American retail and business solutions units.

Revenue for the international division was up 1%.

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ODP delivers earnings growth, but sales weak

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Office Depot delivered higher profits for its third quarter, but sales were down thanks in part to weak comps at its North American retail division. Office Depot reported that total company sales for the third quarter of 2011 were $2.8 billion, a 2% decrease compared with the third quarter of 2010. Net earnings for the quarter were $92 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, compared with $32 million or 12 cents per diluted share for the same period last year.

“I’m pleased with the traction we’re getting in our North American businesses despite a lackluster U.S. economy,” said Neil Austrian, Office Depot’s chairman and CEO. “The successful execution of our key business initiatives is beginning to move the needle.”

Office Depot’s North American retail division reported third-quarter sales of$1.2 billion, down 4% from the prior year. Comparable-store sales decreased 2% for the third quarter. The decline in comparable sales of computers and related products, which began in the later part of the second quarter of 2011, continued during the third quarter and contributed significantly to the division’s overall comparable sales decline, according to the company. Positive comparable sales were reported in supplies, back-to-school essentials, Tech Depot Services and Copy and Print Depot. Furniture sales were essentially flat.

At the end of the third quarter of 2011, Office Depot operated 1,132 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The North American retail division opened three new stores and closed two stores during the third quarter.

For its North American business solutions division, Office Depot reported sales of $821 million, a 2% decrease compared with the third quarter of 2010. Internationally, sales were up 1% in U.S. dollars and down 7%in constant currencies compared with the third quarter of 2010.

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Whole Foods customers help school gardens grow

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods announced that in just six weeks, its shoppers donated more than $2 million in stores and online to support the School Garden Grant Program, the first major initiative of the Whole Kids Foundation. In partnership with FoodCorps, the Foundation will fund $2,000 grants for schools in the United States and Canada to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.

With the $2 million raised by shoppers and the $235,000 received from Whole Foods Market’s Living Social offer, which donated 50 cents to the nonprofit per deal purchased, the Foundation will fund more than 1,000 school gardens, Whole Foods said.

"The support we have received from over a million shoppers is humbling and deeply appreciated. We’ve already received 300 applications from schools and garden-related nonprofits who are interested in implementing or expanding school gardens," said Nona Evans, executive director of the Whole Kids Foundation. "Gardens are such a powerful and effective tool for kids to engage in a variety of conversations about food. We encourage parents and teachers to consider the many lessons that can be taught by gardening with their children."

In addition to a $2,000 grant, each grant recipient will receive a copy of How to Grow a School Garden by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Pringle, a digital garden kit, discounts for gardening supplies and ongoing opportunities for mentoring and support from FoodCorps, which will help schools build and sustain their gardens to ensure long-term success.

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