QUOTE AND NEWS
Forbes  Nov 26  Comment 
In early trading on Wednesday, shares of Analog Devices (ADI) topped the list of the day's best performing components of the Nasdaq 100 index, trading up 3.3%.  Year to date, Analog Devices registers a 4.9% gain.
TheStreet.com  Nov 21  Comment 
Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.  TheStreet Ratings quantitative algorithm...
TheStreet.com  Nov 20  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Staples  are falling, down 0.9% to $13.80 in midday trading Tuesday, after the office supply retailer said that it will close more stores than previously announced this year as it tries to re-position itself...
Insurance Journal  Nov 20  Comment 
Staples Inc., the world’s largest office-supply chain, said it can’t yet “reasonably” estimate the potential losses and expenses it will incur in connection with the possible credit-card data breach disclosed last month. While the company...
Benzinga  Nov 19  Comment 
Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) reported its fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday. Shares of the company are up 9 percent. Below are some key highlights from its conference call. Performance Highlights: • We are focused on three key...
TheStreet.com  Nov 19  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Staples shares surged nearly 10% on Wednesday following the office supplies chain's report that its cost-savings strategy is starting to take hold from shuttering stores and ratcheting in expenses. The Framingham,...
Motley Fool  Nov 19  Comment 
Staples reported better-than-expected numbers, and profitability is improving.
Forbes  Nov 19  Comment 
In early trading on Wednesday, shares of Staples (SPLS) topped the list of the day's best performing components of the S&P 500 index, trading up 7.6%.  Year to date, Staples has lost about 13.6% of its value.
Yahoo  Nov 19  Comment 
Staples Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit as business customers in North America bought more furniture, breakroom products such as coffee machines and core office supplies like ...




 

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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