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Staples stationery to be erased from UK after restructuring buyout

Published 17/11/2016

Plans for the Staples store estate and the impact on staff after the buyout are not yet known
Plans for the Staples store estate and the impact on staff after the buyout are not yet known

Office stationery brand Staples is to disappear from the UK high street after its US owner sold the struggling business.

The UK arm of American firm Staples - which employs around 1,100 staff across 106 stores in Britain - has been bought by restructuring specialist Hilco for a "nominal sum".

Hilco said it would phase out the Staples brand in the UK over the coming months.

Plans for the store estate and the impact on staff are not yet known.

Paul McGowan, of Hilco Capital, said: "While retail in the UK has been challenged recently, a team led by retail veteran Alan Gaynor will work alongside the existing management team to build a plan for success for the business."

The sale comes after Staples Inc put its European operations under review in May.

Staples said the review of its remaining operation in Europe is continuing.

The deal with Hilco comes after recent reports suggested Staples was in talks with investment firm Cerberus over a sale of the entire European business.

According to its most recent accounts, Staples' UK retail operations reported pre-tax losses of £5 million for the year to the end of January 2015, narrowed from losses of £7.1 million a year earlier.

But its online arm and business-to-business division in the UK have been performing better than the stores.

Shira Goodman, chief executive officer and president of Staples, said: "Agreeing to sell our UK retail business to Hilco aligns with our go-forward strategy of focusing on our North American and mid-market business, and is a meaningful step in that process."

Its move to offload the European arm comes as it looks to slash costs after competition authorities blocked a 6 billion US dollar (£4.8 billion) merger with rival Office Depot in the US earlier this year.

Hilco Capital owns a number of retailers in the UK, including music chain HMV.

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