If you visited the Fool yesterday, you already marked your calendar for Staples'
Staples reported net income of $126 million, with earnings up 39% to $0.25 per share. However, if you take out the benefit of an accounting adjustment last year, its earnings rocketed 400%.
Total sales bumped up 12% to $3.45 billion; North American same-stores increased at a 5% clip. It kind of makes you wonder if after years of layoffs and relentless cost cutting, companies are once again handing their employees Staples catalogs and telling them to go nuts -- "No ergonomic wrist rest is too good for you!" In all seriousness, playing into the scenario is an economy that's heating up and some degree of hiring, since new folks need new stuff.
Meanwhile, Staples cranked out $128 million in free cash flow (and deserves to be lauded for attaching its statement of cash flows, to boot.) One Foolish hint that a company's earnings are high quality is when free cash flow is a bit higher than net income, and as you can see, Staples fits that bill.
Further, 20% is the magic number -- Staples said it now expects to deliver 20% growth in earnings for both the second quarter and for the entire fiscal year.
Though rival Office Depot
This quarter marks Staples' 10th consecutive quarter of earnings growth above 20%. According to its conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents), the company sees it as its "job" to deliver positive comps every quarter, but we know it will have some tough comparisons coming up after such a successful 10-month stretch. Investors surely hope it can keep it up, since there's so much to like about the company.
Several surveys from last year indicated that about half of all workers have been planning to leave current employers for a better gig -- and it's likely no amount of ergonomic wrist rests or glitter pens will stop them. If you're looking for greener pastures, stop by the Ask the Headhunter discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. It must be the writer in her, but she's got a strong affinity for office supplies, making a stroll through Staples an exercise in impulse purchasing of helpful gadgets and gizmos.