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Office Depot posts loss in line with expectations, sales fall

An Office Depot store is pictured in Encinitas, California, February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
An Office Depot store is pictured in Encinitas, California, February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Office Depot Inc reported on Tuesday a quarterly loss in line with analyst expectations, as tight cost controls helped offset weak sales at the second-largest U.S. office supply retailer.

The news came as the company awaits regulatory approval for its deal to buy smaller rival OfficeMax Inc .

In the second quarter, Office Depot's net loss after preferred stock dividends was $64.4 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with $64.3 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding merger-related expenses and charges related to restructuring and impairment, the loss was 10 cents a share, in line with analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lackluster demand for laptops and belt-tightening by its federal customers hurt sales, which fell 4 percent to $2.42 billion, while analysts had expected $2.43 billion.

(Reporting By Dhanya Skariachan)

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