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United Stationers Inc., Deerfield, IL, (NASDAQ: USTR), master distributor of business, industrial and jan-san products, reported sales for the third quarter rose 1.9 percent to $1.27 billion, compared with $1.25 billion in the prior-year quarter.
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Profit was $36.5 million.
Sales growth in the industrial supplies category was 29.6 percent from last year. Office products category sales were up 6.7 percent and furniture sales were flat versus prior year. Technology category sales were down 1.1 percent from the same period last year, and lower flu-related product sales contributed to a 4.4 percent decline in the Jan/San category.
"Sales growth in the quarter reflected continued soft market conditions, the decline of flu-related sales, and the positive impact of a number of our growth initiatives," said Richard W. Gochnauer, CEO.
During the quarter, our public sector initiative and MBS Dev software resulted in some significant new business contracts that will have a positive impact beginning in 2011. In light of ongoing soft market conditions, we are tightly controlling costs while focusing expenditures on strategic growth opportunities. Diligent working capital management enabled strong cash flow, which funded these expenditures and repurchases under our share repurchase program."
Sales in the first nine months of 2010 were $3.65 billion, up 3.4 percent, led by a double-digit increase in industrial supplies and growth in technology and office products. These increases were partially offset by lower furniture sales and a slight decrease in janitorial/breakroom category sales.