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Office Depot plans to close at least 400 U.S. stores

Office Depot’s merger with OfficeMax has resulted in an overlap of retail locations that can be consolidated, and the chain plans to close at least 400 U.S. stores.
By The Associated Press Published: May 7, 2014
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— Office Depot is planning to close at least 400 U.S. stores, as its merger with OfficeMax resulted in an overlap of retail locations that can be consolidated.

The combined company’s financial results beat Wall Street estimates for the January-March quarter and it raised its full year forecast for operating income on Tuesday.

Its shares jumped 17 percent in morning trading.

The office supply retailer had 1,900 stores in the U.S. at the end of the first quarter, so the plans call for closing about 21 percent of them. Office Depot and OfficeMax Inc. completed their $1.2 billion deal last November.

Office Depot said it has not quantified the number of jobs that will be affected by the store closures but that it will look to place its best talent impacted by the store closings into new roles, wherever possible.

Chairman and CEO Roland Smith said in a statement that one of the company’s goals this year was to improve how its stores are positioned in North America to meet customer demand better and ensure that it’s well positioned in the markets it serves.

“The overlapping retail footprint resulting from the merger provides us with a unique opportunity to consolidate and optimize our store portfolio, while maintaining the retail presence necessary to serve our customer,” Smith said.

Office Depot said Tuesday that it expects to close 150 U.S. stores this year, mostly in the fourth quarter. It closed 14 stores in the first quarter, a company spokeswoman said.

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