Staples Moves to Expand Beyond Office Supplies

As reported in Bloomberg Businessweek, Staples Inc., parent company of Top 40 distributor Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601), has plans to license its brand name to offer an extensive menu of business services. This effort to expand its reach beyond traditional office supplies comes after revenue continues to decline and management closes retail locations.

In the first phase, company executives told Bloomberg, the retailer will partner with GRM Information Management Services Inc. to offer a Staples-brand service that provides records management, including secure online storage and document scanning, at a site to be called

“The Staples name gives us much better reach to far more customers,” said Avner Schneur, CEO of GRM to Bloomberg. “This will amplify our offering dramatically compared to our own capabilities. That’s why it’s a good match.”

Staples expects to serve primarily record-intensive businesses at first, such as healthcare providers, real estate agencies and law firms.

“Our customers view us as their primary source of office supplies,” said Frank Bifulco, executive vice president of global marketing for Staples. “We want to be viewed more and more as their preferred provider of all the essential products and services they need.”

Licensing efforts will be managed by New York City-based agency Brandgenuity, and may include business insurance and flooring, Paul Bessinger, director of merchandising and innovation at Staples, told Bloomberg.

Staples hopes the new strategic partnerships will lead to crucial revenue increases. The company reported a decline of 3.7% in Q2 earnings, and was barred from merging with Office Depot in May. CEO Ron Sargent resigned soon after as stock fell more than 25%. Shira Goodman was named permanent CEO last month.

While overall revenue has been in decline and the company closes retail locations, its promotional product business has grown by double-digit percentage points each quarter. Currently, it ranks as the largest distributor by revenue in the industry, with estimated North American promotional products revenue of $554.1 million in 2015.