QUOTE AND NEWS
Forbes  Apr 8  Comment 
As the saying goes, there are many possible reasons for an insider to sell a stock, but only one reason to buy -- they expect to make money.  So let's look at two noteworthy recent insider buys.
SeekingAlpha  Apr 3  Comment 
By Ernest Wong: The best way for me to describe Staples (SPLS) is a well-built ship with a skilled crew that is being continually attacked by a hurricane that is intent on forcing the boat in the wrong direction. The crew's ability may prevent the...
Forbes  Mar 24  Comment 
Bargain hunters are wise to pay careful attention to insider buying, because although there are many various reasons for an insider to sell a stock, presumably the only reason they would use their hard-earned dollars to make a purchase, is that...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 13  Comment 
ByJon Parepoynt: A few weeks ago, I published an article on a controversial utility with the theme from a Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh collaboration titled, "Keep on Walking, Don't Look Back". A follower posted his opinion that the theme from the...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 13  Comment 
SeekingAlpha  Mar 13  Comment 
By The Investment Doctor: Introduction In this article I'll have a closer look at Staples (SPLS) which fell by a double-digit percentage last week when it announced its financial results for 2013. I will provide my view on the financial...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 11  Comment 
By Joseph Y. Calhoun III: By Jeffrey P. Snider As with Staples (SPLS), McDonald's (MCD) poses the possibility of a competitive aspect to its latest results. February same store sales were down 1.4% in the U.S. leading to a negative 0.3% comp...
TheStreet.com  Mar 10  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BB&T Capital Markets has downgraded struggling office supplies retailer Staples  to "hold" from "buy." The downgrade comes after a sharp sell-off last week after news broke that the retailer would be closing 225 stores in...
StreetInsider.com  Mar 10  Comment 
UPGRADES FBR Capital raises Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) from Market Perform to Outperform and moves its price target from $35 up to $45. Click Here for more color. BMO Capital lifts Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) from Market Perform to Outperform...
StreetInsider.com  Mar 7  Comment 
The following is a list of notable articles to help get you through the lunch hour: Peregrine (PPHM) Risk/Reward Still Favorable; Plenty to Look Forward to in FY14 - Roth -> Read this! InterMune Inc. (ITMN) Said to Attract Takeover Interest -...
TheStreet.com  Mar 7  Comment 
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- CHANGE IN RATINGS Buckle  was upgraded neutral from sell at Janney Montgomery. Twelve-month price target is $41. The company is seeing higher comp sales, said Janney. Echostar was downgraded to hold by TheStreet...




 

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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