Staples Loses Sales, But Not To Its Usual Rivals

Now it's office supply stores whose customers are vanishing. Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) reported on Wednesday (Aug. 21) that its same-store sales dropped 3 percent, according to Fox Business.

The largest U.S. office-supply chain said online sales were up (though it didn't specify how much), but international sales tumbled 8.3 percent. The result was a 15 percent drop in profits. Staples also said the rest of the year was looking less rosy, and cut its earning forecast for the rest of the year by about 3 percent.

Here's where the vanishing customers come in: They don't seem to be going to Staples' big-box competitors. At OfficeMax, same-store sales are down 3.6 percent. And Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), which is in the process of merging with OfficeMax, was expecting to lose some business until that merger was completed.

"Recall that [Office Depot] had indicated that some of their prospects were going elsewhere due to short term merger concerns. But, it doesn't appear as if that share is going to Staples," said Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Baker, who was quoted by StreetInsider.

Normally we'd expect the big office-supply stores to pick up a sizable piece of back-to-school spending, at least on the school-supplies and technology side. And this year, several chains—including Staples—worked hard to push the back-to-school start into early July in hopes of getting a little more revenue a little sooner. But that doesn't appear to have brought a sales bump for either Staples or its rivals.

For more:

- See this Fox Business story
- See this StreetInsider story

Related stories:

The Kohl's and Staples Mobile Back-To-School Campaign Is A Bit Lopsided
Back-To-School Is A Bust In July
Staples Launches Omnichannel Store Format, But It May Need A New Idea