Framingham, Massachusetts

Staples will shut about 140 locations this year, part of a store-closing plan announced earlier, as the world's largest office-supply chain responds to online competition. Staples shut 80 outlets in North America in the fiscal second quarter. Net income in the three months ended Aug. 2 dropped 20 percent to $82 million, as $101 million was spent on closing locations, the Framingham, Mass.-based company said in a statement today. Expansion by web-based rivals such as has spurred reorganizations across the retail industry, including the merger of stationery suppliers Office Depot with OfficeMax. 

Staples is sweetening its price-matching offer for back-to-school shoppers. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company, which like several other key rivals already matches prices of retailers including, plans to give customers 10 percent off the difference between its price and the competitor's price for an identical product. The offer starts on June 29 and will end the first week of September. Staples will also feature weekly deals and everyday low prices on 30 back-to-school essentials such as 17 cent single-subject notebooks. The moves will build on its new brand tagline, "Make More Happen."

Back-to-school spending may rise as much as 16 percent in the U.S. this year, reversing year-ago declines and putting more muscle behind the economic rebound. Families with students plan to spend about $55.1 billion in the period, compared with $47.5 billion a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said, citing consumers surveyed by BIGResearch.

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