Are Brick-and-Mortar office and small electronic stores dead?

When you think of the traditional American home office or corporate office in 1990, what comes to mind? Maybe a lot of pens and paper, big PC towers and cube monitors and manila files, a lot of manila files. Now let’s fast-forward to 2015, a typical “office” for home or corporate can consist of just a laptop or smart phone! Your paper trail can now be stored electronically, email can replace the written letter and an e-tablet can replace paper note taking. What does this mean for stores who have specialized in large brick-and-mortar retail outlets just for office supplies? It means consolidation of retail space and an increase in e-commerce. More specifically for companies in this specific market it means merger.

Office depot and Office Max merged in 2013 and now Staples is buying Office depot for over $6 billion to stay in the market. Big box stores such as Wal-Mart are making it hard for the large office supply retail real estate to profit when the incentive for the average consumer to walk in their door over Wal-Mart is negligible. Staples is battling this by providing more office related services like copying and catering to small local businesses janitorial supplies. The CEO of Staples, who will remain the CEO after the merger with Office Depot, commented on the industry’s issue by saying Staples must, “more effectively compete in rapidly evolving competitive environment.” Staples does remain one of the top online retailers sitting in 3rd place just behind Amazon and Apple.

Other stores that are hurting from online commerce and market diversification are small electronic stores like RadioShack. RadioShack currently has around 4,000 stores, which is making them saturated in a market where the consumer can purchase all of the business’s retail elsewhere for a better price. In summary, American’s want a deal, they want products quickly and they want to enjoy buying their products, businesses must cater to these trends. 

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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