According to the BBC, the U.S. owner of Staples has sold Staples’ U.K. arm, which employs some 1,100 people in 106 stores, to restructuring firm Hilco for a “nominal” sum. Hilco said it was planning to phase out Staples shops in the United Kingdom over the coming months.
Paul McGowan of Hilco, which also owns entertainment retailer HMV, said: “While retail in the U.K. has been challenged recently, a team led by retail veteran Alan Gaynor will work alongside the existing management team to build a plan for success for the business.”
Staples placed its European business under review in May after U.S. office-supply giant Office Depot called off purchasing Staples for $6.3 billion in the wake of a U.S. District Court ruling. In May 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s issued a ruling that granted the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the acquisition. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission had sought to block the merger, stating that: “…Staples, Inc.’s proposed $6.3 billion acquisition of Office Depot, Inc. would significantly reduce competition nationwide in the market for ‘consumable; office supplies sold to large business customers for their own use.”
Shira Goodman, chief executive of Staples, said selling the U.K. business was “in line with its strategy of focusing on the North American and mid-market business.” She said Staples was continuing to make “good progress” with the rest of its European business in order to allow the company to “streamline our operations, sharpen our focus and more aggressively pursue our mid-market growth strategy.”
Staples’ U.K. business is said to have recently reported pre-tax losses of £5 million. However, the BBC says its online and business-to-business divisions have fared better than its stores.
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- July 2016: Staples Reportedly Considering Leaving U.K. after Failed Office Depot Merger
- June 2016: Staples Launches ‘Staples Rush’ Same-Day Delivery Service
- May 2016: Staples, Office Depot Call Off Merger in Wake of U.S. District Court Ruling
- December 2015: FTC Sues to Block Staples’ Acquisition of Office Depot
- December 2014: Staples Now Offering HP’s Instant Ink Ink-Cartridge Subscription Program
- March 2014: Staples to Shutter 255 Office-Supply Stores Across North America