Staples said on Thursday it was closing another 70 stores in North America amid sharp sales declines in its top market and a continued pivot to business services and away from brick-and-mortar for the leading office supplies retailer. Comparable sales, which excludes the impact of newly opened or closed stores, fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter in the United States and Canada, and for the whole company, adjusted profit per share was 25 cents a share in the period, a penny less than analysts estimated.
Total Retail’s Take: Staples’ business has been in steady decline over the last couple of years. This latest announcement of store closures comes on the heels of last year’s shuttering of 48 stores, and a combined 242 in the two prior years. The company’s failed merger with Office Depot, as well as a shift to more online shopping, has left it in a tenuous spot. Staples’ strategy for reinvigorating the business is to put a bigger focus on its B-to-B customers as well as growing e-commerce sales, while downplaying the importance of B-to-C brick-and-mortar sales.