Office suppliers rise as they reaffirm outlook

Office suppliers reiterate full-year guidance, shares rise

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of office supply retailers rose on Wednesday after OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot Inc. reaffirmed their full-year guidance as the back-to-school season winds down.

The sector has been hit hard since the recession, as consumers and small businesses both cut back on office supplies to save money. In addition, people are also increasingly going online to buy discount office supplies.

But the sector received some good news on Wednesday as both Office Max and Office Depot reiterated their full-year guidance at the Goldman Sachs Annual Global Retailing Conference.

OfficeMax, based in Naperville, Ill., said it continues to expect flat revenue in 2012, implying revenue of $7.12 billion. Analysts expect $7.03 billion.

For the third quarter, it also expects total revenue will be flat, implying revenue of $1.77 billion. Analysts expect revenue of $1.78 billion.

OfficeMax shares rose 6 cents to $5.99 in midday trading after rising as high as $6.33 earlier in the session., matching its high for the past year.

Meanwhile, Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, Fla., reaffirmed its outlook for a full-year adjusted increase in earnings before interest and taxes, as well as higher free cash flow.

Shares jumped 22 cents, or 13.4 percent, to $1.83. The stock had been down 25 percent since the beginning of the year.

Shares of Framingham, Mass-based Staples Inc., the largest office supply retailer, were steady at $10.86 in midday trading after rising as high as $10.95 earlier in the day. That is still 36 percent below their 52-week high of $16.93 in mid-March and closer to their low of $10.57 at the end of August.

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