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

                                Mar 30, 2023 - Flat Growth for ODP Corporation
                                • ODP Corporation, the parent of Office Depot and OfficeMax, had stronger sales in the fourth quarter of 2022, but its full-year results were flat. For Q4 2022, ODP’s sales rose 3% to $2.1 billion compared to Q4 2021. The improvement was driven by stronger sales by the company’s B2B distribution division, ODP Business Solutions. However, lower sales in the firm’s Office Depot consumer division largely offset those gains. Office Depot’s sales were impacted by nearly 60 fewer retail locations in service during 2022 than the prior year. The planned store closures were due to slow traffic.
                                • In February, the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 points to 90.9 but remained below the 49-year average of 98. At 28%, the percentage of respondents who cited inflation as their biggest challenge rose two points from January’s reading. Nearly half of those surveyed said they had job openings they couldn’t fill. The percentage of businesses that expected better business conditions in six months dropped two points to a net-negative 47%. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “Small business owners remain doubtful that business conditions will get better in the coming months. They continue to struggle with historic inflation and labor shortages that are holding back growth.”
                                • Total US printing-writing paper shipments declined 15% in February compared to the same month in 2022, according to the American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA). Shipments of uncoated free sheet papers dropped 9% year over year in February. Total printing-writing paper inventories were essentially flat, rising 0.3% in February compared to the prior month.
                                • By the end of 2023, 48% of worldwide information workers will have a hybrid work schedule, according to a recent report by Gartner. Another 9% of information workers will be fully remote by the end of 2023. The remaining 52% of global information workers will work entirely in person. For many information workers, hybrid work environments are increasingly an expectation rather than a perk. The trend is even more pronounced in the US, where 51% of knowledge workers with work hybrid and 25% will be 100% remote. Gartner defines hybrid workers as those in the office at least one day per week. Demand for office supplies may drop if office occupancy levels remain below pre-pandemic norms.
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