Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) reported its earnings before opening bell, posting first-quarter total sales of $2.7 billion, a 5 percent decline compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company attributed the decline to a $58 million or 200 basis point effect caused by a shift in the timing of the Easter and New Year holidays.

Office Depot

The retailer reported net losses after preferred stock dividends of $17 million or 6 cents per share. That’s compared to net earnings in the same quarter a year ago of $41 million or 14 cents per diluted share. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of 5 cents per share on $2.8 billion in revenue.

Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) announced earlier this year that it would merge with OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX), and its first-quarter results included a $25 million in pre-tax charges which were mostly made up of costs related to that merger and also restructuring. Excluding those charges, net earnings after preferred stock dividends would have been about $1 million or 0 cents per share.

“Although our first quarter results were heavily impacted by the holiday timing, we saw a modest improvement in trends late in the period, which gives us confidence going into the second quarter and, ultimately, in achieving our full-year targets,” said Chairman and CEO Neil Austrian in a statement. “I’m also very pleased with the progress we have made on the merger over the past two months, especially the selection of Mike Newman, Chief Financial Officer of Office Depot, and Bruce Besanko, Chief Financial Officer of OfficeMax, to lead the integration efforts for the two companies.”

Office Depot’s total company gross margin rose about 10 basis points during the first quarter when compared with the same quarter a year ago. It reported increases in North American Retail and North American Business Solutions divisions, which were partially offset by a decrease in sales in its International division.

As of the moment of this writing, shares of Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) were down .54 percent in pre-market trading.