Why Office Suppliers Are Getting Hit Hardest In Retail Closures

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Retail stores took a big hit during 2020. Consumers slowed spending and adjusted to pickup and delivery models. Office suppliers, perhaps, took a large brunt of the blow. How have they adjusted during all these changes? What business strategies worked or didn’t, and how can retailers adjust moving forward.

Marketscale TV Host Hilary Kennedy talked with Jason Stuckey, General Manager of US Operations of Linnworks, and Carlos Castelán, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Navio Group, about the state of retail.


Some of these trends were already in motion when COVID-19 hit, and the pandemic shortened the timeline. In a UBS report, one in 11 stores will close in the next five years, with office suppliers being one of the hardest hit. According to a real estate data firm Green Street Advisors, even after stores have been reopening, customers have been slow to return, with foot traffic down 30 percent at malls.

“Some industries, more than others, have adapted,” Stuckey said. “What’s happening in a lot of industries, particularly office supplies, isn’t a drop in market demand, but a major shift in what products are demanded and how the consumer wants those products to be delivered.”

At his company Linnworks, Stuckey elaborated that in-office cartridges dropped off the map, but in-home cartridges went off the charts. Understanding these changes will help companies be flexible, and that’s why Office Depot and Staples have shifted their strategies.

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