NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There are many places where you can buy pens, paper clips, sticky notes and all the other items needed to run your office. Staples (SPLS), the largest retailer of office products and services in the U.S., would have ranked on any short list of places to get these things.
However, despite the company's "Easy" slogan, there's nothing easy about Staples' ability to grow sales, and that hasn't been good for its stock. The Framingham, Mass.-based company has posted 17 consecutive quarters of revenue declines.
But Staples wants to get shoppers back into its stores, which is why its pending merger with rival Office Depot (ODP) is so important. However, that's not likely to work. Like Staples, Office Depot, is also struggling, with revenue declines for two straight quarters and 8% year over year on average.
Sure, analysts have grown more optimistic about their future together. But that's mostly from the standpoint of cutting costs and how much money the combined company stands to save annually in merger synergies. But that still doesn't address how competitive the new company will be against Amazon's (AMZN) dominant e-commerce platform.
All told, there are still too many unknowns about the future of the combined company, especially with Wal-Mart (WMT) now entering the fray with unlimited shipping. Do you suppose Wal-Mart, the price leader, won't find a way to ship reams of paper and manilla envelopes at lower prices to undercut Staples? Sure it will.