Staples Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Margins Rise with Revenues, Net Income Rises

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) reported its results for the third quarter. Staples operates a chain of retail stores selling office products.

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

Staples Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Third Quarter

Results: Net income for Staples, Inc. rose to $326 million (47 cents per share) vs. $288.7 million (40 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 12.9% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 1% to $6.6 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: The company fell in line with the mean estimate of 47 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $6.72 billion.

Quoting Management: “Our results in North America reflect our team’s ability to drive strong profit improvement in a tough environment,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer. “International results were weaker than expected as tight expense management was more than offset by very challenging top line trends.”

Key Stats:

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the second quarter, net income rose 36% and in the first quarter, the figure rose 5%.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 5.2% to $5.82 billion in the second quarter. The figure rose 1.9% in the first quarter from the year earlier and climbed 0.1% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

The company fell short of estimates last quarter after beating the mark the quarter before with net income of 22 cents versus a mean estimate of net income of 20 cents per share.

Gross margins grew 0.6 percentage point to 28.2%. The growth seemed to be driven by increased revenue, as the figure rose 1% from the year earlier quarter while costs rose 0.1%.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly optimistic about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the fourth quarter has moved up from 43 cents a share to 44 cents over the last ninety days. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $1.36 per to share to $1.41.

Competitors to Watch: OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE:OMX), Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE:ODP), Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), CVS (NYSE:CVS), Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM), Bed, Bath & Beyone (NASDAQ:BBBY), Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP) and United Stationers Inc. (NASDAQ:USTR).

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)