Master distributor United Stationers Inc., Deerfield, IL, (NASDAQ: USTR) reported first-quarter sales in 2011 were up 7.2 percent to $1.24 billion from the prior-year period. Profit was $20.4 million.
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"First-quarter sales reflect encouraging momentum from our growth strategies that provide enhanced service offerings for resellers and suppliers," said Cody Phipps, president and CEO. "We made progress towards our long-term operating margin expansion goals while investing in important skills and systems to support our strategies. Working capital discipline enabled solid cash flow and a strong financial position to fund our capital deployment priorities including growth initiatives, share repurchases and dividends."
Strong growth was seen in the industrial supplies category (ORS Nasco) with sales up 26.1 percent adjusted for workdays. Janitorial/breakroom sales per workday grew 7.5 percent, while technology and office products each saw 3.5 percent growth. The furniture category remained soft, down 1 percent per workday for the quarter.
"Second-quarter sales to date are trending up approximately 6 percent," Phipps said, "boosted by successful execution of our growth strategies and easier comparisons to April 2010 sales."