It’s been a few decades since the world has seen anything quite resembling the U.K.’s Brexit vote as far as geopolitical implications are concerned. However, there are plenty in the retail sector who know what it feels like when a sure-fire merger turned into a drawn-out and expensive separation.
Staples is one of those such merchants, and due to the brand’s continued efforts to right itself following the breakdown of its merger with fellow office supply chain Office Depot, The Telegraph is now reporting that the company is considering shuttering its U.K. operations for more flexibility in reforming its continental European and North American assets. According to an unnamed source close to the matter, Staples has retained KPMG as a consultant in its mission to restructure, sell or put into administration what it has left on the British Isles.
Bill Durling, a spokesman for Staples, confirmed the deliberations in a statement.
“After the proposed acquisition [of Office Depot] was blocked, on May 10, 2016, Staples announced we are exploring strategic alternatives for our European operations,” Durling said. “This will allow the company to sharpen our focus and more aggressively pursue our mid-market growth strategy in North America, while rightsizing our retail business. While this process remains on track, we have no additional details to share at this time.”
Staples currently runs about 200 stores in the U.K., and it’s pledged itself to cutting $300 million from its annual costs as a result of the failed merger. Leaving the U.K. probably won’t bridge that financial gap, but it could mean one less headache for Staples’ executives as the post-Brexit crazy train keeps on chugging.