Well, this had been working out nicely.

I had tagged office-supply maven Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) as a value-type candidate back in November. Although the stock didn't exactly rocket up in reaction to my missive, it nevertheless had risen about 15% from that point. So even with Tuesday's freakout, it's up a little. Such are the perks of buying on the cheap.

Despite today's market reaction, I think it was a solid quarter. Sales were up about 9% overall, with 7% growth in the North American retail business, 17% growth in the delivery business, and 6% growth (in local currencies) in the overseas business. The big bugaboo this time around? Same-store sales were up just 1% in the retail business.

I'll grant that 1% same-store growth isn't great, but let's take a step back and look at the forest instead of one specific tree. Gross margins were up nearly a full point. Operating margins rose about 70 basis points, and operating income climbed 23%. Last but not least, earnings per share were up 25%. Honestly, if you want to worry about something, I'd rather you worry about the 7% growth in operating cash flow than the same-store-sales figure.

Simply put, I still like this business. Staples has been the biggest of the Staples/Office Depot (NYSE:ODP)/OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX) triumvirate for a while, but it has been widening the lead in recent years. What's more, despite the ongoing rollout of the cookie-cutter shopping center (one office-supply store, one PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) or Petco (NASDAQ:PETC), a Michael's (NYSE:MIK)/AC Moore (NASDAQ:ACMR) craft store, one of the Tipsy McStagger restaurants, and so forth), I roughly estimate that Staples still has less than 60% market penetration.

And let's not forget the international opportunity. Oh, I know -- the best that can be said about the international ops right now is at least the company isn't bleeding money, but I still think there's some potential for Staples to reap the market opportunity in Europe and, eventually, China.

With all of that in mind, I believe there's some long-term profit potential here. Sure, there are risks relating to the economy, consumer sentiment, business confidence, and so on, but you don't find risk-free opportunity. Accordingly, I think the risk/reward ratio here is still pretty favorable.

For more retail Foolishness:

PetSmart is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. See what Tom and David Gardner have recommended for their readers -- and even better, you can see all of it free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).