(Reuters) - U.S. office supply chains Office Depot Inc ODP.N and OfficeMax Inc OMX.N reiterated their full-year forecasts on Wednesday.
Office Depot, which has been cutting costs too, said it still expected 2012 earnings of $125 million to $135 million, excluding special items, interest and taxes. That would be up $5 million to $10 million from 2011, and the company’s shares rose nearly 4 percent.
Ahead of a presentation at a Goldman Sachs retailing conference, Office Depot said it expected 2012 operational free cash flow of $80 million to $100 million, an increase of $10 million to $30 million from 2011.
Office Depot is the second-largest office supply retailer, behind Staples Inc SPLS.O.
Many investors look at office supply chains as a barometer of economic health because demand for their products is closely tied to white-collar employment rates.
Sales at these companies have suffered as corporate customers and other shoppers cut back on discretionary spending in the weak economy.
Office Depot rival OfficeMax, the No. 3 U.S. office supplies chain, said that for the third quarter, it expected sales to be flat with or slightly higher than those of a year earlier.
For the full year, OfficeMax said it expected sales to be about the same as those in the previous 12 months.
At the Goldman Sachs Annual Global Retailing Conference, OfficeMax Chief Executive Officer Ravi Saligram said the company was looking to offer some pensioners a lump sum as a part of an effort to simplify its balance sheet. It expects to take a noncash charge later this year.
Office Depot shares were up 3.7 percent at $1.68 in early trading, while OfficeMax edged up 0.3 percent to $5.95.
Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn