Office Max is expected to close 250 stores throughout the United States in 2015. More closures could ensue if regulators approve the company's proposed merger with Staples.
In May 2014, Office Depot announced it would shutter at least 400 stores by the beginning of 2017. The second largest office supply retailer in the nation, Office Max has struggled for years is the face of stiff competition from Amazon and other retail websites. Reportedly, Staples will purchase Office Max for $6.3 billion in stock, although the Federal Trade Commission is not set to approve the deal until late 2015 at the earliest. About half of all Office Depot stores are located within 5 miles of Staples locations, which is a major factor contributing to the need for closures.
Though it is the largest U.S office supply chain, Staples is also struggling and has announced large-scale store closures. In the next couple of years, these potential merger partners will collectively shut down 1,000 stores, which will save the companies $1 billion in operating expenses. To gain merger approval from the Federal Trade Commission, Staples and Office Max may have to sell off some locations to third parties. The FTC often issues mandates like these to preserve healthy competition within industries.