Office Depot Says Ecommerce is Fine for Canada Market

May 08, 2014 1:08 PM  By

Office Depot announced last month that it would close all 19 of its Canada-based OfficeMax Grand & Toy retail stores.

And Office Depot had a good reason to close the stores: During its first-quarter conference call, Office Depot chairman and CEO Roland Smith said just 3% of OfficeMax Grand & Toy come from the bricks-and-mortar channel.

Smith said Office Depot believes it can serve its customers in Canada much more efficiently through its ecommerce site, field and telephone sales representatives and customer service centers.

“These store closures are a response to a shift in the purchasing preferences of our business customers,” said Simon Finch, general manager, OfficeMax Grand & Toy, in a press release last month. “OfficeMax Grand & Toy remains one of the largest business-to-business office products providers in Canada, and we will continue to engage and support our extensive business customer base across the country with an exceptional full service direct sales force.”

OfficeMax acquired Grand & Toy in 1996, and the company was rebranded OfficeMax Grand & Toy last March, around the same time Office Depot and OfficeMax announced its merger.

Office Depot is also considering a change in business strategy south of the border. Smith said they are in negotiations with its Mexican joint venture partners to sell its 51% interest in Grupo OfficeMax, which consists of 92 OfficeMax-branded retail stores. Office Depot expects this transaction to close in the second quarter.