Apparently I'm not the only one who is endlessly fascinated by the various and sundry items one can find in an office superstore. Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) has delivered yet another impressive quarter, and it's about a lot more than pens, pencils, and Post-Its.

Staples reported second-quarter net income up 20% at $147 million, or $0.20 per diluted share. Revenues increased 12% to $3.47 billion, while same-store sales increased 3%. Staples said that its delivery business increased 17% on a year-over-year basis, and the company exhibited strong growth in the North American market.

This is no change from Staples' performance in the past. Despite competition from Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), struggling OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX), and perhaps to a lesser degree discounters such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT), Staples is obviously holding its own quite well.

Indeed, last month rival Office Depot reported quarterly earnings up 26%, but its sales increase lagged that of Staples, with a 6% jump in overall sales. On the other hand, Staples' forward P/E of 17 is slightly lower than that of Office Depot, which said that its third-quarter and future results may be affected by a large charge as it conducts an ongoing business performance review in order to improve long-term performance.

Despite the results, there wasn't much love for Staples today. The stock was down by nearly 2% at last check, although investors apparently took a pessimistic view of the market at large today. Staples gave a forecast for a third quarter that will meet, not exceed, analysts' expectations, which might have put a damper on some folks' opinion of the quarter.

Regardless, today's numbers may hit the point home at how much of a leader Staples is in its niche. As has been discussed here at the Fool many times, Staples' history of impressive earnings growth, its stability, and its dividend are perfectly good arguments that this is a solid long-term play that no investor should be ashamed to have in his or her portfolio.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.