Over the noon hour on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis Thursday, several people saddled with brightly colored sandwich boards on their shoulders announced that everything in the Office Depot downtown was up to 70 percent off. A store employee confirmed by phone that the store is closing Sept. 6. It's one of three closings in the Twin Cities confirmed by employees but not the company.Everything is currently marked 20 to 70 percent off.

Office Depot/Max expects to close about 400 stores by 2016.The company now has about 1,600 stores. In 2013 Office Depot completed the its purchase of rival chain Office Max. Areas that have both an Office Max and an Office Depot are vulnerable to one or the other closing.

Office Depot has not formally announced any specific store closings yet, but store employees answering the phone Thursday in the downtown Minneapolis Office Depot, the Eden Prairie Office Max, and the Maple Grove Office Depot confirmed their closings. Employees indicated

a Nov. 15 closing in Eden Prairie and a November closing in Maple Grove.

An employee said that Burnsville and Coon Rapids Office Depot locations would also be closing, but managers in Burnsville and Coon Rapids locations would not confirm or deny the closing. Each city currently has an Office Depot and an Office Max location, making a closure of one more likely than in suburbs with a single store.

An Office Depot Max 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. In an earnings call on Aug. 5, Office Depot Max confirmed that 165 of the 400 locations will be closing by the end of this year. 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.

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