Staples Announces Store Closings

Staples Inc said it was planning to shutter a number of stores and is trying to sell its European Printing Systems company, as it begins to shift focus toward mobile and online capabilities. Staples expects to save close to $250 million each year from is cost reduction plan by the end of the 2015 fiscal year.

In August, the largest U.S. office supply chain pledged it was making broad changes following a downturn in sales in North America that was unexpected that joined the continued slow sales abroad to lower the fiscal second quarter’s profits by 32%.

Prior to this, Staples was already going through an overhaul of its operations in Europe where it cut close to 15% of its entire international workforce. It also plans to consolidate the different business units throughout Europe. However, prior to now the scope of changes by the company had been smaller in North America.

On Tuesday, Staples announced it was combining its retail sales in the U.S. and its Staples.com companies. It will reduce the retail sq. footage in North America by 15% by fiscal year end 2015.

Staples said it was also accelerating the closing of close to 15 stores in the U.S., which will result in a charge during the fourth quarter of close to $35 million.

In Europe, Staples is planning to close about 45 stores and a number of delivery businesses before the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Those actions in Europe will result in the company taking a $144 million to $190 million charge by the end of this fiscal year.

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