By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Office supplies retailer in regrouping mode after failed merger with Office Depot.
According to, The Wall Street Journal, unnamed sources have revealed that Staples is in early discussions with private equity firms for a potential sale. Staples spokesmen have declined to comment on the possibility.
Reuters reports that a sale to an investment firm could help the office supplies retailer to move out of public scrutiny while it focuses on growth. Staples has a market value of $5.65 billion.
The office supplies retailer announced last month that it plans to shutter 70 stores in 2017 as it regroups after the failed $6.3 billion merger with rival Office Depot last year. The fourth quarter earnings fell below analysts’ estimates, with same-store sales declining 7 percent in the fourth quarter, but the retailer has been trying to recast itself as a business-services provider and shifting attention to online sales in order to capture a greater market share.
Since the failed merger, Staples consciously addressed changing consumer habits by focusing on selling to small businesses and also launched an office sharing program, making some of its stores available as communal working space, according to Reuters.
Despite its challenges, the company is determined to move forward. “Our fourth quarter results were right in-line with our expectations, and I’m increasingly confident that we have the right plan and the right team to transform Staples and get back to sustainable sales and earnings growth,” said Shira Goodman, Staples’ Chief Executive Officer. “I am particularly proud of our ability to grow our delivery business by continuing to enhance our offering and satisfy our business customers.”
Staples currently has 1,255 U.S. locations and 304 Canadian ones. According to Euromonitor, Staples holds the largest market share of office supply stores in the U.S. at 48 percent, with that share increasing since 2011.