Office Supply Stores
Companies in this industry sell a wide range of office supplies and equipment to businesses and consumers and may perform some business services. Major companies include Office Depot and Staples (both based in the US), Pelikan and Otto Office (both based in Germany), Lyreco and Manutan International (both in France), Officeworks (Australia), and Ryman (UK).
The global office supplies market is projected to reach $247 billion by 2020, according to market intelligence firm Beroe. Europe represents the largest global market, while Asia/Pacific is the fastest growing, according to Global Industry Analysts. Growth in the global market is driven by rising school enrollments and literacy rates, and an increase in the number of corporate and home offices.
The US office supply stores industry includes about 6,100 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $12.5 billion.
Demand is driven by the level of business activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising, pricing, and an efficient distribution model. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and the ability to stock wider ranges of products. Small companies can compete by providing superior customer service and by offering specialty items. The US industry is highly concentrated: the four largest companies account for about 85% of industry revenue.
The ongoing decline in general office supplies sales, driven by the transition from print to digital communications and heightened competition from alternative retail channels, has led major office products retailers to shutter stores and seek to consolidate. Office Depot bought OfficeMax in 2013 to better compete against market leader Staples. Two years later Staples made a bid to acquire Office Depot, but the deal was ultimately called off amid scrutiny by antitrust regulators. Meanwhile, nontraditional competitors, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Costco, have been increasing their presence in office supplies, siphoning sales from specialty office products stores. Office Depot closed some 200 stores between 2016 and 2019.
Some office products retailers have turned to adjacent categories like maintenance, repair, and business services such as copy, print, and design services to replace lost revenue. For example, in a bid to become more business-services driven, Office Depot in 2017 paid more than $1 billion to acquire IT services specialist CompuCom Systems. In 2018 the company launched Workonomy (a successor to its in-store business services format BizBox), a business platform aimed at small and medium businesses that offers tools and remote and in-person access to advisers and tech support. There are some 200 Workonomy kiosks in Office Depot stores with more planned. The company also opened its first co-working space, located in one of its retail locations in Silicon Valley.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major product categories include office equipment and computer hardware, software, and supplies (each about 22% of US industry revenue); office, school,
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms