By Tom Murphy
Staples said Thursday it will shut down more than 10 percent of its stores in North America by the end of next year, the second major chain to announce the mass closing of stores this week and the latest evidence of a retail landscape that is being altered drastically by the way Americans shop.
The nation’s largest office-supply company said nearly half of its sales are now generated online and it is working aggressively to cut costs and become more efficient. It aims to close up to 225 North American stores as part of a plan to save about $500 million by the end of 2015.
It had already closed dozens of stores in the past year.
Staples would not elaborate on the number of jobs that are being cut, nor the locations of stores. The recession did heavy damage to chains like Staples, which also face growing competition online as well as from discount stores. But the same thing is happening across the retail sector, no matter if the company is selling clothes, books, or electronics.
Staples has 1,846 stores in North America and Canada, the vast majority in the United States. Chairman and CEO Ron Sargent said Thursday that his company wasn’t giving up on brick-and-mortar stores, believing that customers still want the convenience and service that they can get there.
“That said, stores have to earn the right to stay open,” Sargent said.