Staples (SPLS) fell to lowest in almost 20 years on Tuesday as the office-supply giant closes stores and watches its customers patronize online rivals.
Shares fell to $7.75, the lowest since December 1997, and are now down about 19% so far this year. Over the past year, Staples' stock had shed an astounding 36% compared a 6.6% gain for the S&P 500.
Enthusiasm on Wall Street is hard to find in the wake of Staples' failed bid earlier in the year to merge with smaller rival Office Depot(ODP) - Get Report . The aftermath has left it vulnerable to growing competition from Amazon(AMZN) - Get Report , Walmart(WMT) - Get Report and others in office supplies. As a result of that vulnerability, Staples' recent ugly financial performances may worsen.
Staples saw same-store sales at its more than 1,600 stores in the U.S. and Canada fall 4% in the second quarter. Execs pinned the blame on weak store traffic. Operating income for the North America stores segment fell 57% year over year to $12 million. Sales plunged in tablets, tech accessories, ink, toner and office supplies. To add insult to injury, same-store sales for Staples.com rose a meager 1%.
Sales for the company's North American commercial segment, which ships office supplies to businesses, fell 0.2% in the second quarter vs. a year earlier. Staples found the most success in promotional products, facilities supplies, and breakroom supplies, partially offset by declines in ink and toner, and paper.
Staples will close 46 to 50 stores in North America this year, as it attempts to slash costs and restore investor confidence. It has closed more than 300 stores since 2011.