Staples to Close More Stores, Focus Online

Office supply chain Staples announced plans to close 140 more stores in North America following a two percent decrease in the company's Q2 sales from 2013.

The retailer already closed 80 stores in North America this quarter, part of an effort to streamline its bricks-and-mortar business while ramping up online commerce.

The strategy appears to be working with Q2 sales on Staples.com up 8 percent due in part to an increased assortment of products.

The company also saw double-digit growth in its in-store Staples.com kiosks and in its copy-and-print business online.

Sales in North America alone decreased 6 percent from Q2 2013 to $2.3 billion with comparable store sales also down 5 percent due to decreased traffic and smaller average order sizes. Meanwhile, Staples.com grew 8 percent in the region during the second quarter.

“We’re accelerating growth in our delivery businesses as customers turn to Staples for more products beyond office supplies,” says Ron Sargent, chairman and chief executive officer, Staples. “At the same time, we have more work to do to stabilize our retail business, and we’re taking action to improve customer traffic, reduce expenses and close underperforming stores.”

International sales were also down 3 percent (on a local currency basis) to $941 million, a slip the company attributed to a "weakness in the company’s European online business." Staples hopes to remedy this by transitioning to a more centralized pan-European operating model.

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