Staples Plans to Close 140 Stores to Focus on Ecommerce

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Staples announced it would close approximately 140 of its North American stores in 2014, according to its Q2 earnings call.

“As customers shift online, we are taking aggressive action to right-size our retail footprint,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to providing great service and every product businesses need whether it’s in store, online or through mobile. We don’t have additional details to share on specific locations or timing.”

Staples already closed 80 stores during the second quarter which brings its total number of store closures to 96 for the first half of 2014. The company expects to close 40 stores in the latter half of the year. saw an 8% sales growth in Q2 driven by increased business customer acquisition, improved customer conversion driven by improvements to mobile and desktop websites, and expanded assortment beyond office supplies.

The company reported double-digit growth from in-store web kiosks, which now accounts for more than 5% of its U.S. retail sales mix, and enhanced its omnichannel customer experience with the launch of its Buy Online, Pick Up in Store service.

Staples added 250,000 products to its ecommerce website in the quarter, including furniture and teaching and education tools and hardware categories, bringing the total SKUs on to more than one million.

For the second quarter, Staples’ net income fell to $81.9 million, or 13 cents per share, from $102.5 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago. Sales declined 2% to $5.2 billion, with about half of the drop due to foreign exchange rates and store closings in North America.