QUOTE AND NEWS
Wall Street Journal  Apr 13  Comment 
Staples Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Ron Sargent’s total compensation grew 15% to $12.4 million last year after the office supply retailer’s profitability improved despite sagging sales.
Reuters  Apr 13  Comment 
Activist investor Jeffrey Smith, head of Starboard Value LP, said Staples Inc's deal to buy Office Depot Inc would likely be approved by regulators.
Benzinga  Apr 1  Comment 
In a report published Wednesday, KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts upgraded Staples, Inc (NASDAQ: SPLS) from Sector Weight to Overweight, with a price target of $20, while adding that the stock has the potential to reach $25-$30 in three...
Benzinga  Apr 1  Comment 
Analysts at Boenning & Scattergood upgraded Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL) from Neutral to Outperform. The price target for Xylem is set to $40. Xylem shares closed at $35.02 yesterday. KeyBanc upgraded Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) from Sector Weight to...
Forbes  Mar 26  Comment 
The worst performing sector as of midday Thursday is the Services sector, showing a 0.3% loss. Within that group, Staples Inc (NASD: SPLS) and Wynn Resorts Ltd (NASD: WYNN) are two of the day's laggards, showing a loss of 2.9% and 1.7%,...
Forbes  Mar 23  Comment 
Looking at the universe of stocks we cover at Dividend Channel, on 3/25/15, Deutsche Bank Contingent Capital (NYSE: DKT), Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE: RL), and Staples Inc (NASD: SPLS) will all trade ex-dividend for their respective upcoming...
TheStreet.com  Mar 23  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Staples Inc. are up by 2.69% to $16.69 at the start of trading on Monday morning, after analysts at UBS raised their rating on the office supply retailer to "buy" from "neutral." The firm increased its...
Reuters  Mar 11  Comment 
Staples Inc has agreed to a proposal to allow shareholders who have held a stake of at least 3 percent for three years to nominate directors, bowing to pressure from the New York City comptroller and the city's public pension funds.
TheStreet.com  Mar 10  Comment 
Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of Jim Cramer, TheStreet, Inc., or any of its contributors.  TheStreet Ratings quantitative algorithm evaluates over 4,300 stocks on...
Benzinga  Mar 9  Comment 
In a report published Monday, Deutsche Bank analysts maintained a Hold rating on Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), with a price target of $18. The analysts mentioned that profitability at Staples continues to decline, "although the pace of the...




 

Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) is the world's largest office products company, generating $24.3 billion in sales in 2009, up 5.2% from 2008.[1] Not only is the company ahead of its closest competitors in terms of revenue -- Office Depot (ODP) had revenue of $12.1 billion (a 16% decline))[2] and Officemax (OMX) had sales of $7.2 billion (down 12.8%)[3] -- but it is the only one to have positive profits in 2009 -- Staples profits were $739 million.

While Staples is the overall leader, it has embarked on several initiatives to extend its lead. For its physical retail locations, the company has significantly remodeled older stores while introducing smaller store formats in less-populated areas. To increase its margin, Staples has increased the mix of private label offerings (i.e., Staples brand products) and emphasized the purchase of products directly from manufacturers instead of distributors.

In 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express N.V., one of the world's leading suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions, with hopes to increase its presence in the international market. The acquisition has also helped the company's performance in the sluggish economy as it put less pressure on the company's North American retail business.

Company Overview

Products[4]

  • Office Supplies and Services (47.9% of net sales)
  • Business Machines and Related Products (31.8% of net sales)
  • Computers and Related Products (15% of net sales)
  • Office Furniture (5.3% of net sales)

Operating Segments[5]

  • North American Retail: this segment consists of the company's 1,555 stores in the US and 316 stores in Canada.

North American Delivery: Under this segment, Staples has its Contract, Staples Business Delivery, and Quill businesses. Its Contract operations serves mid-sized businesses and organizations through Staples Business Advantage and Fortune 1000 companies through Staples National Advantage. Staples Business Delivery operations combine the activities of the direct mail catalog business, Staples.com web site, and its Canadian Internet sites. Lastly, Quill is an Internet and catalog business that targets small and medium-sized businesses.

International Operations: Staples' International Operations has retail stores, catalog, and contract businesses in 23 different countries in Europe, South America, Asia, Australia. The company has 328 stores in seven countries.

Acquisition of Corporate Express

In July 2010, Staples completed the acquisition of Corporate Express N.V. ("Corporate Express"), one of the world's leading suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions. [6]

Business Growth

FY 2009 (ended January 30, 2010)[1]

  • Net income was down 8.3% to $739 million.
  • Net sales were $24.3 billion up 5.2% compared to the previous year. Sales growth was pushed by the North American Delivery and International Operations segments which increased by 8% and 13% respectively, but was offset by a 1.3% decline in the North American Retail segment due to a 2% decline in comparable store sales and lower average order size.

Trends and Forces

General Economic Forces

Domestically, the demand for office products is correlated with many different measures--white collar employment, small business spending, and national GDP--which are all indicators of the overall health of the macro-economy. In a sluggish economy, consumers and businesses cut back on spending to save money and tend to purchase fewer supplies, hurting the demand for Staples' products. A high white-collar unemployment rate also decreases the demand for office supplies. Despite economic pressures, Staples was able to have positive sales growth in 2009.

One hedge against a dependence on the domestic economy is growth in the company's international business, especially in developing countries like China and Brazil where economies are growing and no established office supply retailer dominates.

Supply Chain

Staples' standard superstore is significantly smaller than those of Office Depot or OfficeMax and houses much less of its inventory on-site. Instead, Staples operates 4 distribution centers across the United States to supply its retail stores on a timely basis and keep a stock of backup inventory. Part of Staples' efficiency comes from this distribution network operating in conjunction with Staples' small store format. Hence, Staples saves significantly on leasing costs, and has greater leeway to place stores in the most effective locations near their target customers.

The comparatively larger size of distribution centers allows Staples to make larger purchases with volume discounts, and their close relationships with vendors allows the time of delivery to match closer with demands so goods don't take up floorspace in distribution centers. This centralized handling and receiving system leads to significant savings on administrative and labor costs, and allows store associates to concentrate on store presentation and customer service.

Direct Sourcing and Own Brand Products

Staples offers a bevy of private label products and has begun directly sourcing many products (i.e. purchasing directly from manufacturers instead of through distributors). Private label products are usually priced lower for consumers than comparable national brands, yet offer higher profit margins to the retailer than brand name items.

Competitors

Staples is the world's largest office products company.

In the office supply market Staples has three main competitors:

Staples also competes against mass merchants such as Wal-Mart (WMT), warehouse clubs like Costco Wholesale (COST), and computer and electronics superstores like Best Buy (BBY).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 SPLS 2009 10-K pg. C-4
  2. ODP 2009 10-K pg. 22
  3. OMX 2009 10-K pg. 16
  4. SPLS 2009 10-K pg. 5
  5. SPLS 2009 10-K "Business Strategy" pg. 2-4
  6. SPLS 2009 10-K pg. A-2
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