QUOTE AND NEWS
SeekingAlpha  11 hrs ago  Comment 
By Alpha Strategist: Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) is a global organization with established footholds in 25 countries. The company distributes its operations among three business segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial...
Motley Fool  Sep 26  Comment 
Staples is paying out, but its cash situation could use a boost from the top line.
Forbes  Sep 25  Comment 
The most recent short interest data has been released by the NASDAQ for the 09/15/2014 settlement date, which shows a 12,353,338 share decrease in total short interest for Staples Inc (NASD: SPLS), to 80,662,688, a decrease of 13.28% since...
Motley Fool  Sep 24  Comment 
Shares of Staples are well below their 52-week high. Is it time to buy?
SeekingAlpha  Sep 21  Comment 
By Mark Kowalski: Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) has had a rough couple of years with steadily declining sales and earnings since 2012 and headlines including "underperforming brick and mortar stores" and "Amazon competitor". The market has reacted...
TheStreet.com  Sep 20  Comment 
Search Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" trading recommendations using our exclusive "Mad Money" Stock Screener. NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are some of the hot stocks Jim Cramer talked about on Friday's Mad Money on CNBC: AZO data by...
SeekingAlpha  Sep 13  Comment 
By Investing Tricks: It seems that things are not going well at Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS). The company's second quarter 2014 earnings report showed declines in both the top and bottom lines as it continued its store closures in North America. In...
Forbes  Sep 12  Comment 
In afternoon trading on Friday, Services stocks are the best performing sector, losing just 0.5%. Within that group, Staples NASD: SPLS) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) are two large stocks leading the way, showing a gain of 3.7% and 3.5%, respectively....
DailyFinance  Sep 9  Comment 
Last sentence of boilerplate should read: More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at www.staples.com. (instead of More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at Apple Watchw.staples.com.). The...
Motley Fool  Sep 8  Comment 
While shares of Staples have slumped so far this year, there are three reasons the stock could rise in the long term.




 

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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