One of the reasons the Staples and Office Depot merger was shot down was the very reason the two companies were interested in making the deal in the first place: It would’ve created the largest, bar none, office supply brand in business today.
Now that the deal is officially dead and buried, though, Retail Dive reports that both merchants are still spinning their wheels as they try to figure out where to head next. Mark Cautela, director of corporate communications at Staples, let slip that his company would be supercharging its omnichannel operations however it can, even though it may not be enough.
“We will continue to build on our assortment of products beyond office supplies,” Cautela told Retail Dive. “We’ll also look to build on our omnichannel capabilities, like buy online/pick up in store and shipping from store … and investing in sharper pricing and enhanced supply chain capabilities.”
Office Depot, on the other hand, said that concrete plans for its immediate future are pending the results of a “comprehensive strategic review [they] are conducting with the assistance of Bain,” a spokesperson said.
Whatever plans the two indelibly separate companies embark on, they may end up hamstrung by their respective shareholders. As Christian Magoon, CEO of Amplify Investments, explained, the short-term focus of the companies’ shareholders may force both Staples and Office Depot to lapse on readying their legacy footprint for a new dynamic age.
“It used to be that having this legacy and history as a company in retail — the brand and relationships that came with it — was a huge structural advantage,” Magoon said. “But now, it’s becoming a huge structural disadvantage, because it’s hampering innovation. We see all the risks for traditional retailers. They may see what’s coming, but they have little-to-no flexibility to address it.”