Staples to Shut as Many as 225 Stores, Cut Costs by $500 Million

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Staples Plunges Most in a Year After Cutting Profit Forecast
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Ben Livesey

Staples (SPLS), the largest office-supplies chain, will close as many as 225 stores in North America and reduce costs by as much as $500 million by the end of 2015, as it forecast sales to drop for a fifth consecutive quarter.

The savings are expected to come from supply chain, retail store closures and measures including "labor optimization, non-product related costs, IT hardware and services, marketing, sales force and customer service," the Framingham, Mass.-based company said in a statement Thursday.

Staples is facing increased competition from online retailers including Amazon.com (AMZN). Revenue in its fiscal first quarter will fall from a year earlier, excluding any potential impact from its restructuring plan, the retailer said Thursday without providing a projection.

Shares fell 15 percent to $11.35 at 11:08 a.m. in New York and earlier dropped as much as 17 percent for the biggest intraday decline since Aug. 15, 2012. The stock slid 16 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 1.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) .

"With nearly half of our sales generated online Thursday, we're meeting the changing needs of business customers and taking aggressive action to reduce costs and improve efficiency," Chief Executive Officer Ron Sargent said in the statement.

The company expects earnings of 17 cents to 22 cents a share for the first quarter. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%That compares with the average analyst estimate of 27 cents on an adjusted basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts on average estimate the retailer to post revenue of $5.74 billion in the quarter, compared with $5.81 billion a year earlier.

Kirk Saville, a spokesman for Staples, didn't immediately respond to voicemails and an e-mail seeking comment on how many jobs will be eliminated by the cost-cutting plan

Staples joins RadioShack (RSH), the electronics retailer, in trying to overhaul its business by closing stores in the face of increasing competition from e-commerce rivals. The company announced plans March 4 to close about a fifth of its stores after fourth-quarter sales missed estimates.

Staples shuttered 42 stores in North America last year, ending 2013 with 1,846 in the region.

The company reported fourth quarter income from continuing operations of $212 million, or 33 cents a share, compared to $90 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.


the world's largest office-supplies chain, plans to shutter as many as 225 stores in North America and cut costs by as much $500 million by the end of 2015, as it forecast a first-quarter sales decline.

The savings are expected to come from supply chain, retail store closures and measures including "labor optimization, non-product related costs, IT hardware and services, marketing, sales force and customer service," the Framingham, Mass.-based company said in a statement Thursday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Livesey in San Francisco at blivesey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Cecile Daurat at cdaurat@bloomberg.net


19 PHOTOS
17 Tricks Stores Use to Make You Spend More Money
See Gallery
Staples to Shut as Many as 225 Stores, Cut Costs by $500 Million

A big, bold "SALE" sign helps get people in the store, where they are likely to buy non-sale items.

Once you enter, there's the shopping cart. This invention was designed in the late 1930s to help customers make larger purchases more easily.

 

In supermarkets, high margin departments like floral and fresh baked goods are placed near the front door, so you encounter them when your cart is empty and your spirits are high.    
Flowers and baked goods also sit near the front of stores because their appealing smell activates your salivary glands, making you more likely to purchase on impulse.

Supermarkets like to hide dairy products and other essentials on the back wall, forcing you to go through the whole store to reach them.

 

    

Once customers start walking through a store's maze of aisles, they are conditioned to walk up and down each one without deviating.

Most stores move customers from right to left. This, combined with the fact that America drives on the right, makes people more likely to purchase items on the right-hand side of the aisle.

Anything a store really wants customers to buy is placed at eye level. Particularly favored items are highlighted at the ends of aisles.
 

There's also kid eye level. This is where stores place toys, games, sugary cereal, candy, and other items a kid will see and beg his parents to buy.
Sample stations and other displays slow you down while exposing you to new products.
Stores also want items to be in easy reach. Research shows that touching items increases the chance of a purchase.

Color affects shoppers, too. People are drawn into stores by warm hues like reds, oranges, and yellows, but once inside cool colors like blues and greens encourage them to spend more.

Hear that music? Studies show that slow music makes people shop leisurely and spend more. Loud music hurries them through the store and doesn't affect sales. Classical music encourages more expensive purchases.
Store size matters, too. In crowded places, people spend less time shopping, make fewer purchases (planned and impulsive), and feel less comfortable
.
Stores not only entice you with sales, they also use limited-time offers to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase.
The most profitable area of the store is the checkout line. Stores bank on customers succumbing to the candy and magazine racks while they wait.
Finally, there is the ubiquitous "valued shopper" card. This card gives you an occasional deal in exchange for your customer loyalty and valuable personal data.
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION
Read Full Story

People are Reading