International profits fall short
US office products and service retailer Office Depot has reported sales of US$3.7 billion (£1.94 billion) for the first quarter to March 26 this year, up 3 per cent on the same period last year. Profits were down 5 per cent, however, to US$165 million (£86.5 million) with chairman and chief executive officer Steve Odland citing tough trading conditions in Europe as a major contributory factor.

Operating profit for the retailer's Internationals Division (all markets outside the US and Canada) fell sharply over the quarter, with a decline of 28 per cent. Odland said: 'Internationals' results fell short of our expectations. Despite very difficult business conditions in Europe, we clearly have an opportunity to improve Internationals' performance.'

By contrast the like-for-like performance of the 894 stores that have been open for more than a year in the US and Canada showed sales growing by 1 per cent.