Staples Takes Stock In E-Commerce

Leading office superstore Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced today that it is forming a new class of common stock to track the company’s e-commerce performance.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company believes that a stock called Staples.com will allow it to “aggressively pursue electronic commerce.” The move, which was approved by the company’s board of directors, is subject to approval by shareholders.

Staples said that it will file a proxy statement with the SEC within the next few weeks. The company added that it has no immediate plans for an initial public offering of the new stock.

The new stock will consist of three e-commerce businesses: Staples.com, Quillcorp.com and StaplesLink.com. Quillcorp sells office supplies to large businesses on a contract basis, and Staples Link is a direct marketer of office supplies to small businesses.

“Staples is committed to becoming the dominant supplier of office supplies and services across all our channels, including the Internet,” said company CEO Thomas Stemberg. “A dedicated, well-resourced e-commerce unit — along with the tremendous strength of Staples’ existing franchise — will allow us to more effectively deploy the talent and focus necessary to dominate the $250 billion office supply market.”

E-Commerce Wish List

The move is indicative of the value the Staples management team thinks e-commerce has to its future business. A relative late-comer to e-commerce, Staples launched its site late last year and marched out a redesigned and updated site in July.

Some of the features of the revamped site include a clearance center for bargain hunters and a back-to-school center.

Staples also announced Wednesday that it has promoted Jeanne Lewis from executive vice president of marketing to the new position of president of Staples.com. The company also promoted Jeffrey Levitan to the position of executive vice president of strategy and development.

With 1,009 stores in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Germany and most recently Portugal and the Netherlands, Staples is an office superstore of giant proportions. Despite its massive size — $1.85 billion in sales in the second quarter of this year alone – the company is considered fairly nimble on its feet and quick to move to solidify its position.

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