Retail Success Story: Reinvention of Staples

This is part of our Retail Success Stories series. See all the posts in our series here:

Staples has been in Canada since 1991, operating as The Business Depot until 1994. Over the past 30 years, its seen its share of changes in the Canadian retail market and is now recreating itself to come out stronger.

This reinvention is what makes Staples Canada ourlatest retail success story.

Read on to see how Staples Canada has adapted and thrived in a competitive industry.

The State of Office Supply Retail

While the e-commerce revolution hasn’t done away with brick-and-mortar stores, it has hit certain sectors of the retail industry harder than others. Office supplies was one of those niches.

The advance of the Amazons, Dollaramas, and Walmarts of the world have made the office supply industry much more competitive in recent years. When consumers could order printer cartridges, pens, paper, and technology online for a lower price, they were less likely to visit legacy stores. Some retailers, like Grand & Toy, struggled to cope with the change.

But Staples managed to weather the storm. And not only weather it, but come out stronger.

The Reinvention of Staples: 2008 – 2018

Since 2008, Staples found innovative ways to stay relevant. Instead of focusing mainly on the consumer market, they looked to corporate customers. First, they focused on acquiring other companies, such as Corporate Express, which catered to large corporations.

They also introduced industrial products by acquiring Chiswick.

In 2017, Staples was acquired by Sycamore Partners Inc., which is when their reinvention took a new turn.

The Reinvention of Staples: 2018 – Present

After the acquisition, in December of 2018 Staples revealed a new logo and a new brand identity as “The Working and Learning Company.” They also introduced new store concepts that transformed the customer experience.

Here are some of the new initiatives Staples has launched in the past year alone:

  • Co-working spaces (called Staples Studio) where entrepreneurs and small businesses can work in certain Staples locations.
  • Hands-on in-store customer experiences, like trying out products in the Discover Zone.
  • An auditorium-style Spotlight Speaker Series.
  • Thousands of new products, with an emphasis on design.
  • Beginning to carry every major technology brand with experts on hand to answer questions.
  • The Solution Shop, offering more advice.
  • Expansion of omnichannel offerings, with both in-store and online offerings, including next-day delivery for the majority of customers with minimal (or no) shipping fees.

“We are undergoing a transformation of Staples Canada in what could be described an office supplies retailer to a new position as a working and learning company,” said David Boone, CEO of Staples Canada, in a recent Retail Insider article.

“What’s come out of that is a whole bunch of research in how people’s lives are changing in our core community – entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers, parents and students. And ensuring that we are relevant for the decades to come.”

Continuous Improvement

Staples Canada’s ongoing innovation and willingness to adapt and learn makes it a true retail success story. Their commitment to consumer insights is inspiring and makes this reinvention only the start. We look forward to seeing what comes next for the brand and the industry!

What do you think of Staples Canada’s reinvention? Share with us on social media. Storesupport Canada is on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Want to create your own retail success story? Get in touch today. Call us at 1-877-421-5081 or visit to learn more about our solutions for retailers and manufacturers.

« Back to Blog