Office Depot starts same-day delivery service

In a bid to shore up its eroding sales, Office Depot said Monday that it’s testing same-day delivery in three markets.

“With our new same-day delivery and our omnichannel approach, we are utilizing our retail stores as assets and part of our supply chain to give our customers the best possible experience,” Office Depot Chief Executive Gerry Smith said in a statement.

Customers who shop on officedepot.com can choose scheduled same-day delivery. The service is available in South Florida, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Office Depot says it will waive delivery fees as it tests the service.

Staples, Office Depot’s larger rival, began same-day delivery more than a year ago. Both retailers have been hurt by the rise of Amazon and by declining demand for pens, papers and printer cartridges.

Office Depot’s sales fell from $12.7 billion on 2014 to $11 billion in 2016, and the Boca Raton-based retailer has been closing stores and distribution centers.

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Blast from the past: Office Depot brings back “Taking Care of Business” as theme song $ODP

Office Depot store in Royal Palm Beach

Office Depot has revived the 1974 hit “Taking Care of Business” as its theme song, making the classic-rock standard a centerpiece of its new national ad campaign.

“‘Taking Care of Business’ was instantly recognizable by all of our customer segments and gave us distinct brand differentiation,” Diane Nick, senior vice president of marketing for Office Depot, said in a statement Monday.

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Boca Raton-based Office Depot tested the Bachman-Turner Overdrive song in a 2,000-person survey and found even college students consider the tune “fresh” and “innovative,” Nick said. Office Depot designed the campaign with Zimmerman Advertising of Fort Lauderdale, which took over as the retailer’s ad agency in March.

Office Depot has used “Taking Care of Business” off and on for years, most recently in 2011.

Office Depot first used “Taking Care of Business” in the 1990s, when the retailer was on a roll. Back then, big-box office supplies stores were driving mom-and-pop shops out of business and elbowing their way onto the Fortune 500. Staples ponied up for naming rights to the Los Angeles Lakers’ arena. Office Depot featured comic strip character Dilbert in ads, turned the Florida Marlins’ foul poles into giant pencils and put its logo on a car that competed in the Daytona 500.

However, amid shrinking demand for pens, pencils and printer paper and increased competition from Wal-Mart and Amazon, the once-growing chains have fallen on hard times. A federal judge last year rejected the proposed merger of Staples and Office Depot (Nasdaq: ODP), leaving the two struggling companies to figure out a Plan B. Office Depot has been working on its “store of the future,” a 15,000-square-foot format that offers services such as smartphone repair.

 

 

Former Office Depot CEO’s final pay package includes $13 million in stock awards

Office Depot CEO Roland Smith

When federal regulators nixed a merger with Staples, Office Depot Chief Executive Roland Smith missed out on a $46.8 million payday. Now that Smith has stepped down from the Boca Raton-based retailer, he’s getting a smaller but still substantial paycheck, according to a report the company filed with regulators Wednesday.

The most significant sum comes in the form of stock vesting. Smith took ownership of nearly 3 million shares worth $13.11 millon, Office Depot said. That includes 1.8 million shares for hitting performance targets over the past three years, plus 1.2 million shares he receives for stepping down from the company.

For his work in 2016, Smith also collected a cash bonus of $2.2 million, a salary of $1.4 million, stock awards that could be worth $7.8 million and “other compensation” of $322,113, mostly in the form of personal use of the company plane.

The Fortune 500 retailer named Smith CEO in November 2013. By my calculations, he collected $29 million in realized compensation, including the $13 million in stock vested but excluding the estimated value of option grants and stock grants during his tenure.

Smith stepped down in February 2017. His successor, Gerry Smith, gets a salary of $1.1 million and a sign-on bonus of $1.2 million.

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Office Depot lays off undisclosed number of workers at Boca Raton headquarters

Office Depot's Boca headquarters
Office Depot’s Boca headquarters

Office Depot said Wednesday that it laid off an undisclosed number of workers at its Boca Raton headquarters.

“As part of Office Depot’s three-year strategic plan announced in August 2016, the company today completed a restructuring effort aligned with the third pillar of our strategic plan,” spokeswoman Karen Denning said in an email.

The struggling retailer had hoped to cope with shrinking sales by combining with Staples, its larger rival. But the Federal Trade Commission last year nixed the merger.

Denning wouldn’t say how many people were cut by Office Depot, but she said the total wasn’t high enough to require the company to make a disclosure under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN Act requires employers to disclose layoffs if they cut more than 500 workers within 30 days, or if they fire 50 to 499 workers and the total represents more than a third of the work force.

 

Feds challenge merger of Boca-based Office Depot and Staples

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission is officially challenging the merger of Boca Raton-based Office Depot Inc. and Staples Inc.

In an adminstrative complaint, the FTC says the deal, in which Staples would pay $6.3 billion for Office Depot, “would violate the antitrust laws by significantly reducing competition nationwide in the market for ‘consumable’ office supplies sold to large business customers for their own use,” an FTC news release said.

The pair of office supply companies have been in merger talks for about a year.

“The Commission has reason to believe that the proposed merger between Staples and Office Depot is likely to eliminate beneficial competition that large companies rely on to reduce the costs of office supplies,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in the news release. “The FTC’s complaint alleges that Staples and Office Depot are often the top two bidders for large business customers.”

The FTC said it has authorized its staff to pursue a termporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal court to prevent Staples and Office Depot from completing the merger.

Rumors of the FTC’s opposition to the deal led to a dip in share prices in late November for both companies.

European regulators said in September they are scrutinizing the deal to be sure it doesn’t lead to price spikes.

According to The Associated Press, Roland Smith, CEO and chairman of Office Depot, said the two companies will seek legal options to finalize the merger.

Read the FTC’s news release.