Comment June 2016

Don't neglect core OP


Phew! The Staples/Office Depot saga is finally over after the two companies abandoned their merger following the court’s decision on 10 May to grant the FTC its preliminary injunction.

I say ‘over’, but is it really just a case of a new series beginning in this big-box soap opera? While the door has been closed on the Staples/Depot merger, it has raised more questions about what the future holds for each firm – especially Office Depot in general as a going concern – and how a potential sale of both their European operations will pan out. Plenty more ink to be spilled on the subject, methinks…

With all the talk of moving ‘beyond office supplies’, there is possibly a tendency to take our eye off the ball on traditional stationery and office products. That would be a mistake because core office supplies – bar a couple of segments – are actually doing pretty well and are more profitable than a lot of these adjacent categories.

A look at how the London Stationery Show has developed over the past few years, for example, points to a re-energising of the stationery category and it is interesting how B2B resellers can tap into some of these ‘prosumer’ trends such as adult colouring. Read more in our Traditional OP Category Analysis.

Have a great month.

Andy Braithwaite, Editor-at-large