Staples Inc., the Framingham-based office-supply giant that is scrambling to reinvent itself in a shifting retail landscape, said Thursday that it plans to close 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015 as it looks to transition more of its business to the Internet.
In reporting fourth-quarter and full-year earnings, Staples also said it was initiating a cost-savings plan designed to save about $500 million a year. The company’s fourth quarter earnings more than doubled compared with last year, when the company booked a restructuring charge of more than $176 million.
Fourth-quarter sales were nearly $5.9 billion, down 3.8 percent when compared with the same time period from the year before.
“A year ago, we announced a plan to fundamentally reinvent our company,” Staples chairman and chief executive Ron Sargent said in a statement. “With nearly half of our sales generated online today, we’re meeting the changing needs of business customers and taking aggressive action to reduce costs and improve efficiency.”
The store closings amount to about 10 percent of Staples’ worldwide total of 2,200. It has about 1,500 US locations.
Staples recently swapped its long-time “That was Easy” tagline for “Make More Happen,” a new slogan meant to depict Staples as a convenient one-stop shop for a vast assortment of products.
The campaign is the latest attempt by Staples to transform itself from the king of the office supply superstore to a huge online marketplace with a much smaller physical retail footprint as it looks to compete with the likes of Amazon.com.
Harsh trends in the office supply retail business are prompting that shift. Customers simply need less paper, ink, and toner in the digital era.