Staples’ fourth quarter dismal

Staples' fiscal fourth-quarter net income dropped 72 percent, dragged down by charges related to store closings and other matters. Its adjusted results topped Wall Street's view, but its forecast for this year was below analysts' estimates.

The office products company also announced Wednesday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend by 9 percent.

Staples Inc. has launched a strategic plan that includes investing more in its online and mobile efforts and expanding the product assortment that it offers to its business customers. The efforts are aimed at serving customers' better and accelerating growth.

For the period ended Feb. 2, the chain earned $78.1 million, or 12 cents per share. That's down from $283.6 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges tied to stores closings and other items, earnings from continuing operations came to 46 cents per share. Analysts expected 45 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

- Associated Press

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