The great Canadian retail shakeup continues, with Staples retroactively announcing on Wednesday it had shuttered 15 of its Canadian locations at the end of last month.
The stores represent nearly 5 per cent of the chain’s 331 locations in Canada. The closures are part of a previously announced plan to shut 225 stores across North America, or about one out of every eight Staples locations.
The chain apparently will not say which stores it closed, suggesting only that shoppers check the store locator on its website.
Staples waited until the end of the all-important back-to-school season before the latest round of store closures, CBC reports.
The Globe and Mail notes that both of Staples’ main competitors in Canada — Grand & Toy and Office Depot — have shut down their Canadian locations.
“We’re the last man standing, in terms of a retail presence,” Staples Canada real estate director Michael Cukoff said, as quoted at the Globe.
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Staples has been struggling with a decline in demand for paper products in the digital age. It is also facing similar challenges as many other big-box retailers who have been feeling the pinch from online competitors. Best Buy and sister brand Future Shop have announced nearly 2,000 layoffs in Canada over the past few years, as well as the closure of more than a dozen stores.
Staples has managed to stay profitable, though margins are being squeezed. Second-quarter sales were down two per cent, to $5.2 billion, while profits dropped 19 per cent, to $82 million.
Shares in the company are down about 23 per cent on the year.
Market observers have recently been suggesting that Staples and Office Depot merge. One analyst suggested the combined company could save $1.44 billion in costs.