Office supply giant Office Depot Inc. plans to close at least 400 stores in the U.S. following the purchase of rival OfficeMax last year.
The Boca Raton, Fla., company said 150 locations are scheduled to close this year, with the rest closing by the end of 2016. The reduced footprint should save at least $75 million a year.
"The overlapping retail footprint resulting from the merger provides us with a unique opportunity to consolidate and optimize our store portfolio," said Roland Smith, Office Depot chief executive, in a statement. He said improving the chain's store footprint was a critical priority for the year.
The company, which currently operates about 2,000 stores, said it had not finalized the stores to be closed.
On Tuesday, the company also raised its profit forecast for the year after reporting better-than-expected first quarter results thanks to cost cutting efforts.
In the three months ended March 29, Office Depot reported a net loss of $109 million, or 21 cents a share. That is compared to the same period a year ago, before the purchase of Office Max, when the company suffered a loss of $7 million, or 6 cents a share. Sales rose to $4.4 billion, from $2.7 billion last year.
Purveyors of office supplies such as Office Depot have struggled along with other brick-and-mortar retailers to shrink their footprint and compete with low-cost online competitors.
Rival Staples Inc. said in March it planned to close 225 stores in North America. RadioShack Inc. announced the same month that it will shutter 1,100 locations.
Shares of Office Depot climbed 71 cents, or 17%, to $4.88, in Tuesday morning trading.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun