The company hasn’t formally announced Twin Cities store closings, but employees say several will close by November.
Earlier this year Office Depot announced that it is closing at least 400 of its 1,900 U.S. stores as part of its merger with OfficeMax, which it purchased in 2013. The office supplies and equipment retailer hasn’t released specific locations yet, but word is starting to get out.
Several people wearing brightly colored sandwich boards announcing “Up to 70 percent off” at the City Center store walked along Nicollet Mall this week. Although Office Depot still hasn’t confirmed that the location is shutting its doors, “store closing” signs hang from the ceiling throughout.
In an earnings call on Tuesday, Office Depot further clarified that 165 of the 400 locations will be closing by the end of this year, with the remainder to close by the end of 2016. The company expects to save at least $100 million from the closings by the end of 2016. It had previously reported a $75 million expected savings.
“The office products industry has struggled with low sales per store,” said Minneapolis retail consultant Jim McComb. “The solution is to close the underperforming stores and keep the ones with the best sales and locations.” Another reason for closing brick-and-mortar stores is the success that the office products industry has had online. It has increased Internet sales more than many others, according to McComb.
In phone calls to the 30 locations in the Twin Cities on Thursday, employees indicated that the Eden Prairie OfficeMax and the Maple Grove Office Depot will be closing in November. Both suburbs have an Office Depot and an OfficeMax location.
Burnsville and Coon Rapids also have both stores, and one employee said the Office Depot locations would close, but store managers refused to confirm or deny the closing. Areas that have both an Office Max and an Office Depot in proximity are most vulnerable to one or the other closing. “The main purpose of the merger was to increase overall profitability by reducing the number of stores,” McComb said.
An Office Depot representative would not confirm the closings of any of the five stores. “For competitive reasons we are not providing specific store location information at this time,” said Julianne Embry, a senior public relations manager in an e-mail.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633