Business

Staples brand to disappear from UK High Streets

Staples store Image copyright Reuters

The UK High Street is losing another brand following the sale of Staples, the stationery specialist, to a restructuring company.

The US owner of Staples has sold the UK arm, which employs 1,100 people across 106 stores, to Hilco for a "nominal" sum.

Hilco said it was planning to phase out Staples-branded shops over the coming months.

Staples also has online and business-to-business operations.

Paul McGowan of Hilco, which also owns entertainment retailer HMV, said: "While retail in the UK has been challenged recently, a team led by retail veteran Alan Gaynor will work alongside the existing management team to build a plan for success for the business."

Staples placed its European business under review in May after it was forced to abandon a $6.3bn merger with fellow US office supply giant, Office Depot, on competition grounds.

Shira Goodman, chief executive of Staples, said selling the UK business was in line with its strategy of focusing on the North American and mid-market business.

Image copyright Getty Images

She said Staples was continuing to make "good progress" on the rest of its European business to allow the company to "streamline our operations, sharpen our focus and more aggressively pursue our mid-market growth strategy".

This year, a number of retailers have already closed or said they will shut down their UK shops, including department store group BHS, and clothing specialists such as Austin Reed, American Apparel and Banana Republic.

The Hilco deal comes after recent reports suggesting Staples was in talks with investment firm Cerberus over a sale of its entire European business.

According to its most recent accounts, Staples' UK business reported pre-tax losses of £5m for the year to January 2015, down £2.1m from the previous 12 months.

However, its online and business-to-business divisions have fared better than the stores.

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