By Stalking Staples With a Camera, It's Clear the End Is Near

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When analyzing any retailer before going live with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation, I find myself asking this one key question nowadays:

  • Does XYZ company sell a product or service that will require hundreds (sometimes thousands) of giant stores to operate as is the case at present? If not, do baby-boomer retail execs obsessed with stores get the pressing need to close hundreds of stores today as to survive profitably in an era favoring the likes of Amazon  (AMZN) and even Walmart's  (WMT) same-day delivery aspirations?

The latest horrid quarter from the combined Office Depot/Office Max (ODP) ultimately has caused this piece on Staples (SPLS). As background, Staples is a perpetually restructuring company that I have analytically stalked for well over a year. In fact, here is a fun piece on CNBC I had the opportunity to pen last year, and a lively video on Yahoo Finance "Breakout" listing Staples as a retailer at risk of vanishing. To its credit, since each of those pieces hit, management at Staples launched its newest restructuring plan (when the fourth quarter results severely disappointed the market earlier in 2014) designed to make the company operationally smaller to delay the inevitable.

Unfortunately, I don't think the efforts by Staples will work, especially with an entrenched management team that refused to exit a poorly positioned international business and is compensated at year-end by sales of non-office supplies (explains why there is Tide Pods detergent positioned next to pens in an aisle).

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