Staples to step up mobile, e-commerce investments, close stores

Like other retailers, Staples is restructuring to devote more investment to its online and mobile sales channels.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Staples, the office products retailer, said that it will reorganize so it can invest more in its online business.

The company said in a statement that it will aim to leverage its stores, supply chain and customer base to make more of a splash online. Staples said that it is the second largest Internet retailer, but doesn't break out its online sales in financial reports.

Nevertheless, Staples is following a similar playbook of other retailers such as Best Buy. The game plan for these retailers is to grow online and mobile channels and prevent e-commerce first rivals such as Amazon from running off with the market. Most brick-and-mortar retailers ranging from Wal-Mart to Target to Best Buy to Barnes & Nobile are moving to better support online and mobile channels. 


Specifically, Staples said it would do the following:

  • Aim to save annual expenses of $250 million by the end of 2015.
  • Combine its U.S. retail and Staples.com businesses under one executive, Demos Parneros.
  • Cut its square footage in North America by 15 percent by the end of 2015. Staples now plans to close 30 stores and downsize or relocate another 30 in fiscal 2012.
  • Staples will close 45 stores in Europe by the end of fiscal 2012.

Overall, Staples will take pre-tax charges of $145 million to $195 million by the end of fiscal 2012. Staples will also take a goodwill charge of $790 million to $850 million for its European businesses.

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