Store’s uncertain future

THE future of a Hartlepool-based stationery and office furniture store hangs in the balance after a national firm announced plans to close some of its stores.

Office supply firm Staples has announced that it is to close 45 of its European stores by the end of the year as it “embarks on a strategic plan to better serve the needs of its customers and accelerate growth”, particularly in its online business.

To achieve its vision, bosses at Staples, which has a store at the Highlight Retail Park, at Hartlepool Marina, say they are increasing investment in online and mobile capabilities and restructuring international operations.

In addition to the European stores, the US-based chain, which operates in 26 countries, is also closing 15 of its US shops by the end of 2015.

A Staples spokesman said: “Staples announced key restructuring activities as part of an ongoing process to reduce the complexity and improve the profitability of its European operations.

“Staples plans to close 45 stores and several sub-scale delivery businesses in Europe by the end of fiscal year 2012, and also announced a leadership change in its European operations.”