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Staples’ profits rise

The world’s largest office-supplies retailer, Staples Inc., has registered a rise in second-quarter profits by 11% on revenue from international markets. However, the company dropped its annual sales forecast due to lower revenue from North American stores. Overseas sales surged 18% in the second quarter but the gain was tempered by currency fluctuations. Sales for copy and print services, laptop computers, ink, and software were high. Staples expects a “low double-digit” revenue growth this year through Feb 2, while a 15% per-share profit growth is forecast for the third quarter and the year. The office product retailer operates 1,962 stores worldwide, including 1,672 in the U.S. and Canada.

13% increase in profits at Target backed by strong clothing sales, credit-card proceeds
Discount retailer Target Corp.’s earnings surged 13% as estimated by analysts on sales of its clothing lines and profitable credit-card unit. Target expects the annual profit to rise to about $3.60/share and will take a traditional approach for the rest of 2007. The revenues increased 9.5 % to $14.6 billion, while credit-card proceeds rose 17 % to $453 million, making up 3.1 % of the total, compared with 2.9 % a year back. Target has outpaced its other competitors like Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings Corp., the largest department-store chain in the U.S., by attracting consumers with exclusive apparel without lowering prices.

Sales of painkiller in the U.S. climb 90% in eight years
According to a new Associated Press analysis of federal drug-prescription data, the retail sales figures of five leading painkillers doubled over the last eight years following a rise in usage by patients nationwide. The number of five major painkillers sold at retail establishments rose 90% from 1997 to 2005. The most recent year represented in the study reveals that more than 200,000 pounds of codeine, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and meperidine were purchased at retail stores during 2005. This averages to more than 300 milligrams of painkillers per person in the country.
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