The UK high street is losing another retail name as office stationery chain Staples shops will close following a deal with a turnaround firm for “a nominal sum”.
The move comes after US parent, Staples Inc, hired KPMG to explore options for its European operations after its attempted $6bn (£4.8bn) merger with US rival Office Depot was blocked by regulators.
Hilco, known for its turnaround of HMV, is buying Staples’ UK business and is planning to phase out Staples 106 shops across the country, which employ more than 1 100 staff in total.
Paul McGowan of Hilco Capital said: “We are pleased to have concluded a transaction with Staples, Inc. and look forward to working with the UK team.”
“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.”
Staples has online and business-to-business operations which could continue to trade.
“Agreeing to sell our UK retail business to Hilco aligns with our strategy of focusing on our North American and mid-market business, and is a meaningful step in that process,” said Staples chief executive Shira Goodman. She added that the company is still “evaluating strategic alternatives for the remainder of Staples Europe”.
Last month, the Telegraph reported that investment firm Cerberus, which bought billions of UK and Irish bank assets in the wake of the financial crisis, was in negotiations over a rescue deal for the Staples’ European business, which includes 200 stores, for a nominal sum.
Staples has struggled for years as revenue declines and demand wanes for traditional office basics such as folders, ink cartridges and filing cabinets, and as shoppers hunt for bargains online. However, a restructuring plan last year meant that UK sales grew by 7pc to £116m and the business returned to the black with £3.4m of profits.
Staples’ difficulty follows the collapse of high street chains BHS, Austin Reed, American Apparel, My Local and Store 21 this year.
By Ashley Armstrong for www.telegraph.co.uk