Office Supplies and Stationery Stores

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 2,500 firms in the US sell office supplies, school supplies, stationery, computers, office equipment and furniture at retail. Firms may also offer business-related services, such as printing, copying, mailing and shipping, or technology-related services, such as software installation.

Competition from Alternative Stores

Office supply and stationery retailers face stiff competition from a variety of alternative brick-and-mortar channels, including wholesale clubs, discount stores, mass merchandisers, food and drug stores, and computer and electronic stores.

Competition from Online Retailers

Like most of the retail industry, office supply and stationery retailers face intense competition from online-only channels, which offer convenience and enjoy lower overhead costs.

Industry size & Structure

The average office supply and stationery retailer employs about 30 workers and generates about $4 million annually.

    • The office supply and stationery retailing industry consists of about 2,500 firms that employ 77,700 workers and generate about $10 billion annually.
    • The industry is highly concentrated; the top eight companies account for 84% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms include Office Depot (Office Max) and Staples. Stationery retail chains include Papyrus (Schurman Retail Group) and Paper Source (Investcorp).
                                Industry Forecast
                                Office Supplies and Stationery Stores Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Nov 4, 2022 - More Small Businesses Have Trouble Paying Rent
                                • Office supply stores may see business drop if a weakening economy reduces small business spending or leads to business closures. In October, 37% of small business owners surveyed said they could not pay their full rent and pay on time, which was up seven percentage points compared to September, according to Alignable, a social media outlet for small business owners. More than half of small-to-medium-size businesses said their rents were higher in October. Among specific industries, education had the most trouble in October, with 57% of firms surveyed saying they struggled to make rent. Other hard-hit industries included automotive (with 49% failing to pay rent in full and on time), restaurants (49%), transportation (46%), retail (43%), gyms (41%), and beauty salons (39%).
                                • More businesses reported their sales and profits fell in the third quarter, according to the latest Business Conditions Survey released in October by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). The Net Rising Index (NRI) for sales – the percentage of respondents reporting rising sales minus the percentage reporting sales declines – dropped to eight in the third quarter, marking the lowest NRI sales reading since mid-2000. The NRI reading for profit margins dropped to -10. About 31% of respondents cited higher interest rates as their biggest downside risk, followed by increased cost pressures with 16%. More than half of those surveyed felt there was a more-than-even probability of entering a recession in the next 12 months; 11% believed the US economy is currently in recession.
                                • Amid inflation, 38% of consumers said they plan to spend less on gifts this holiday season than last year, according to a survey by Morning Consult released in November. About 45% of shoppers said they planned to spend about the same as they spent in 2021. The most popular gift category is gift cards, with 56% of survey respondents saying they planned to give them. Gift cards are not as affected by inflation as goods and allow for greater control over spending. Other popular gifts include apparel (39% of gift buyers), toys (36%), money (33%), and holiday food and alcohol (29%).
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