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Pedestrians pass a Staples store in New York City.
Pedestrians pass a Staples store in New York City.
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Staples, the biggest U.S. office supplies retailer, forecast its 15th straight quarter of declining sales as it closes stores in the face of intensifying competition.

Staples and former merger partner Office Depot are struggling to compete with Walmart Stores and Amazon at a time when people are using less stationery.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples said on Wednesday its total sales fell 3.7 percent to $4.75 billion in the second quarter ended July 30. Analysts on average had expected sales of $4.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales at the company’s established stores in North America fell 5%, worse than the 3.1% drop analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix had expected.

Staples also reported a net loss of $766 million, or $1.18 per share, compared with a profit of $36 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Apart from trying to buy Office Depot – a deal that fell apart over antitrust concerns – Staples has been responding to tough conditions by closing stores and focusing on serving medium-sized businesses rather than Fortune 500 ones.

The company reiterated that it would close 50 stores in North America this year. It closed a total of 242 stores in 2014 and 2015 as a part of its restructuring plan. Staples had 1,907 stores as of Jan. 30.

Staples is also focusing on offerings other than office supplies, such as electronics and furniture, and said in May it would step up deliveries to 80 percent of total North American sales within three years in an effort to compete with Amazon.

Excluding items, the company earned 12 cents per share, matching the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Staples said it expected sales in the current quarter to decrease from the same quarter last year but did not provide a specific forecast.

The company said it expected an adjusted profit of 32 to 35 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 35 cents per share.

Staples’ shares were down 1.3% at $9.30 in light premarket trading. The shares have lost about a third of their value in the past 12 months.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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