Staples: strong U.S. dollar reflects on sales, dividend $0.12

Staples Inc. net income 2015 was of $379 million ($0.59 per diluted share). The Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share.

markets cash dividendFor the full year 2015, total Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) sales decreased of 6% to $21.1 billion compared to full year 2014. Total company sales declined less than 1% versus the prior year, excluding the impact of store closures in North America during the past year and changes in foreign exchange rates.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported net income of $379 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, compared to net income of $135 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in the full year 2014. On a nonGAAP basis, the company reported net income of $578 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, during 2015, compared to $623 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, during the prior year.

The company generated operating cash flow of $978 million and invested $381 million in capital expenditures in 2015, resulting in free cash flow of $597 million for the full year. The company returned $308 million to shareholders through cash dividends in 2015. At the end of 2015, the company had $1.9 billion in liquidity, including $825 million in cash and cash equivalents.

For the full year 2015, International Operations achieved sales of $3.2 billion, a decrease of 16% in U.S. dollars and a decrease of two percent on a local currency basis compared to 2014. Full year 2015 operating income rate decreased 75 basis points to an operating loss of 1.3 percent compared to the prior year. The company ended the year with 278 stores in Europe.

The company announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend on Staples, Inc. common stock of $0.12 per share. The dividend is payable on April 14, 2016, to shareholders of record on March 25, 2016.

Outlook
For the first quarter of 2016, the company expects sales to decrease versus the first quarter of 2015. The company expects to achieve fully diluted non-GAAP earnings per share in the range of $0.16 to $0.18 for the first quarter of 2016. The company’s guidance reflects the unfavorable impact of the stronger U.S. dollar on sales and earnings. The company’s earnings guidance excludes any potential costs related to the company’s planned acquisition of Office Depot and the impact related to ongoing store closures. For the full year 2016, the company expects to generate approximately $600 million of free cash flow excluding the impact of payments associated with financing for the acquisition of Office Depot. The company plans to close approximately 50 stores in North America in 2016.