Office Depot Closes 400 Stores, Hisses 'Thanks A Lot, Amazon' (Well, Probably)
Things are looking bad for Office Depot employees: The big-box retailer is trying to improve its profits in the one way no employee wants to see — by shuttering hundreds of Office Depot stores. So far the strategy, taken in the midst of a life-or-death struggle with online retailers like Amazon, seems to be paying off for the company. Office Depot announced the planned closures at the same time as unexpectedly positive earnings were reported Tuesday, which in turn drove the company's stock price up nearly 20 percent.
Whatever the positive earnings for Office Depot, they're probably cold comfort to the people who'll lose their jobs as a result of this downsizing. Office Depot will be closing 400 stores, a quarter of their remaining locations, just months after they completed a merger with rival retailer OfficeMax. It's a hard circumstance to avoid, admittedly — given the incredible ease and relative convenience of online shopping, less and less people may end up wanting to set foot in a building full of red-shirted employees.
The march of modern technology has increasingly exposed different industries, like Office Depot, to internet-based threats. Netflix and the advent of streaming video services likely stands as the most visible, easily understood example of new technology decimating a once-thriving industry — having passed on a chance to buy the upstart Netflix in 2002, for a relatively paltry $50 million, virtually the entire Blockbuster Video empire was dismantled within ten years.
It's similar, as Bustle reported, to how new technology in a Nissan-engineered, after-market type of automotive paint could one day pose huge hazard to the car wash industry. Nissan's "Ultra Ever-Dry," which is currently at the testing stage in Europe, appears in a filmed demonstration to be functionally self-cleaning — a nightmare for an industry built entirely on the convenience of not having to clean something yourself.
Retailers are now increasingly trying to cope with these challenges by closing stores and cutting staff. Longtime electronics retail stalwart Radio Shack is reportedly looking to follow suit with Office Depot, hatching their own, even deeper-cutting downsizing plan — some hardline investors reportedly want to see over 1,000 of their 4,000 locations closed, as the company's standing has rapidly withered in recent years.