Office Depot never took advantage of its brand or retail experience to develop a beachhead overseas. In contrast, almost a quarter of Staple’s sales are from outside the US. This failure cost Office Depot dearly.
The margins at all three of the office supply retailers were pressed by the recession. More importantly, big-box retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco moved into office supplies and used their broad purchasing power to offer low prices. Office Depot could not turn to overseas operations which have helped a number of companies like Walmart in recent years, to offset a slowdown in its home market.