Presentations made painless

Company > Staples: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Staples: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jun 30, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model, SWOT analysis, and competitors of Staples, a renowned office supply retail company. As we approach 2023, it is vital to examine how Staples has navigated the ever-evolving market landscape, identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Furthermore, we will explore the competitive landscape, analyzing the key players vying for market share in the office supplies industry. Join us as we uncover the strategies and potential challenges that lie ahead for Staples in the coming years.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Staples and the significance of the ownership in determining the company's strategic direction.
    • The mission statement of Staples and how it guides the company's actions and goals.
    • How Staples generates revenue and the key factors driving its profitability.
    • An explanation of the Staples Business Model Canvas, providing insights into the company's key activities, resources, and value proposition.
    • An understanding of Staples' main competitors and how they impact the company's market position.
    • A comprehensive analysis of Staples' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) to evaluate its overall business outlook and potential challenges.

    Who owns Staples?

    Staples Ownership History

    Staples, a well-known office supply retail company, has gone through various ownership changes throughout its history. Understanding the ownership structure of Staples helps shed light on the company's trajectory and strategic decisions.

    Founding and Early Ownership

    Staples was founded in 1986 by Thomas G. Stemberg, Leo Kahn, Myra Hart, and Mitt Romney, who at the time was a management consultant. The company began as a small office supply store in Brighton, Massachusetts. As Staples started to gain traction and expand, it caught the attention of larger players in the industry.

    Private Ownership

    In 1989, Staples went public and traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. However, it continued to face challenges and fierce competition in the office supply market. As a result, in 1986, Staples was taken private by a group of private equity firms, including Bain Capital, which Mitt Romney co-founded.

    Acquisition by Sycamore Partners

    In 2017, Staples faced declining sales and a changing retail landscape. As a result, the company was acquired by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm specializing in retail investments. This acquisition took Staples back to private ownership to facilitate a potential restructuring and strategic realignment.

    Current Ownership

    As of the latest available information, Staples remains under the ownership of Sycamore Partners. The private equity firm has been actively working to revitalize the company and enhance its competitiveness in the evolving office supplies market. Under Sycamore Partners' ownership, Staples has been focusing on expanding its e-commerce capabilities and exploring new business strategies.


    Staples, originally founded by a group of entrepreneurs, has undergone several ownership changes throughout its journey. From its initial public offering to being taken private by private equity firms, and finally acquired by Sycamore Partners, the company's ownership structure has evolved in response to market dynamics. As Staples continues to adapt and innovate, its ownership by Sycamore Partners marks an important chapter in the company's ongoing transformation.

    What is the mission statement of Staples?

    The Mission Statement of Staples: Helping Businesses Succeed

    Staples, the renowned office supplies retailer, has a clear and concise mission statement that reflects its commitment to supporting the success of businesses. The company's mission statement is "We help businesses succeed by making it easy to make more happen."

    This mission statement encapsulates Staples' dedication to being an essential partner for businesses of all sizes, providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Staples understands the challenges faced by businesses and aims to simplify their operations and elevate their productivity.

    By using the phrase "make it easy to make more happen," Staples emphasizes its role as a facilitator, streamlining the process for businesses to accomplish their goals. The company recognizes that time is a valuable asset for entrepreneurs and corporate professionals alike, and seeks to provide them with efficient and convenient solutions.

    Staples' mission statement also underscores its commitment to innovation and adaptability. The company acknowledges the rapidly evolving business landscape and aims to stay ahead of the curve by consistently offering new products, services, and technologies that address the evolving needs of its customers.

    Furthermore, the mission statement reflects Staples' customer-centric approach. The company understands that the success of businesses largely depends on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, Staples endeavors to provide exceptional customer service, personalized solutions, and a seamless shopping experience to foster long-term relationships with its clients.

    In summary, Staples' mission statement, "We help businesses succeed by making it easy to make more happen," encapsulates the company's commitment to supporting businesses, simplifying processes, embracing innovation, and delivering exceptional customer experiences. Staples aims to be the trusted partner that businesses can rely on to overcome challenges, increase efficiency, and achieve success in their endeavors.

    How does Staples make money?

    Retail Sales

    The primary source of revenue for Staples is through retail sales. Staples operates a vast network of physical stores across the United States and Canada, offering a wide range of office supplies, technology products, furniture, and other office essentials. These retail stores generate significant income for the company by serving both individual consumers and businesses. Staples constantly updates its product inventory to cater to evolving customer demands and trends, ensuring a steady stream of revenue from retail sales.


    In addition to its physical stores, Staples has successfully transitioned into the e-commerce space. The company operates a robust online platform that allows customers to conveniently browse and purchase products from the comfort of their homes or offices. With the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, Staples has capitalized on this trend by providing a seamless and user-friendly online shopping experience. The e-commerce segment has become a substantial revenue generator for the company, attracting a broader customer base and expanding its market reach beyond the physical retail stores.

    Business-to-Business Solutions

    Staples has developed a strong presence in the business-to-business (B2B) market, providing a wide array of products and services tailored to meet the needs of corporate clients. Through its dedicated B2B division, Staples offers office supply procurement solutions, managed print services, technology solutions, furniture installation, and other business services. By catering to the specific requirements of corporate customers, Staples has established long-term partnerships and contracts, ensuring a consistent revenue stream from these B2B transactions.

    Staples Advantage

    Staples Advantage is a specialized program specifically designed to serve the needs of large organizations and government entities. This program offers customized procurement solutions, dedicated account management, and access to a vast array of products and services. Staples Advantage operates on a contract-based model, providing these organizations with cost-effective and efficient procurement processes. By securing long-term contracts with large-scale clients, Staples Advantage plays a significant role in generating substantial revenue for the company.

    Other Services

    Staples also generates revenue from various other services it offers. These include print and marketing services, business technology services, and shipping and mailing services. By diversifying its offerings and tapping into additional revenue streams, Staples maximizes its profitability and establishes itself as a comprehensive provider of office-related solutions.

    In conclusion, Staples generates its revenue through a combination of retail sales, e-commerce, B2B solutions, Staples Advantage, and various other services. By adapting to changing market dynamics and expanding its offerings, Staples has successfully positioned itself as a leading provider of office products and services, ensuring a steady and diverse stream of income.

    Staples Business Model Canvas Explained

    What is the Business Model Canvas?

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps businesses visualize, analyze, and design their business models. It provides a comprehensive framework to understand how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. Developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, the Business Model Canvas is widely used by organizations of all sizes and industries to innovate and refine their business models.

    Understanding Staples' Business Model Canvas

    Staples, a well-known office supply retailer, has a clearly defined business model that can be examined using the Business Model Canvas. Let's take a closer look at each component of the canvas to understand how Staples operates:

    Customer Segments

    Staples primarily targets two main customer segments: individual consumers and businesses. Individual consumers include students, teachers, and home office users who rely on Staples for their office supplies needs. On the other hand, businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large corporations, rely on Staples for their office essentials.

    Value Proposition

    Staples' value proposition centers around convenience, affordability, and a wide range of office products. By offering a one-stop-shop for office supplies, Staples saves customers time and effort by providing a comprehensive selection of products under one roof. Moreover, Staples offers competitive prices and regular discounts, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious customers.


    Staples utilizes both online and offline channels to reach its customers. The company operates a robust e-commerce platform, allowing customers to conveniently browse and purchase office supplies from anywhere. Additionally, Staples has a network of physical stores strategically located to provide easy access for customers who prefer in-person shopping experiences.

    Customer Relationships

    Staples focuses on building long-term relationships with its customers. The company achieves this through personalized customer service, loyalty programs, and tailored solutions for businesses. Staples aims to understand and address the unique needs of each customer segment, fostering loyalty and repeat business.

    Revenue Streams

    Staples generates revenue through various streams, including the sale of office supplies, technology products, furniture, and printing services. Additionally, the company offers business services such as printing, copying, and shipping, which contribute to its overall revenue.

    Key Resources

    Staples' key resources include its extensive product inventory, its e-commerce platform, physical stores, and its strong supplier network. These resources enable the company to meet customer demands, ensure product availability, and provide a seamless shopping experience.

    Key Activities

    Staples' key activities revolve around sourcing and managing its product inventory, maintaining its e-commerce platform, operating physical stores, and providing customer support. The company also engages in marketing and promotional activities to attract and retain customers.

    Key Partnerships

    Staples collaborates with various partners to enhance its business model. This includes partnerships with suppliers to ensure a steady supply of quality products and partnerships with delivery services to ensure efficient and reliable order fulfillment. Additionally, Staples forms strategic alliances with technology companies to offer innovative office solutions.

    Cost Structure

    Staples' cost structure includes expenses related to sourcing and managing its product inventory, operating physical stores, maintaining its e-commerce platform, marketing and advertising, employee wages, and logistics. The company strives to optimize its cost structure to remain competitive and offer competitive prices to its customers.


    By examining Staples' business model through the lens of the Business Model Canvas, we can understand how the company creates value for its customers and generates revenue. Staples' focus on convenience, affordability, and a comprehensive product range has made it a trusted name in the office supplies industry. Through its strategic partnerships, customer-centric approach, and efficient operations, Staples continues to adapt and thrive in a competitive market.

    Which companies are the competitors of Staples?

    Office Depot/OfficeMax

    One of the main competitors of Staples is Office Depot/OfficeMax. These two companies merged in 2013 to create a stronger competitor in the office supply retail industry. Office Depot/OfficeMax offers a wide range of office products, including office furniture, technology solutions, and printing services. They have a similar store layout and product selection as Staples, making them a direct competitor in the market.


    In recent years, online retail giant Amazon has emerged as a significant competitor to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, including Staples. With its vast product selection, competitive prices, and convenient delivery options, Amazon has become a go-to destination for many consumers looking to purchase office supplies. Staples has responded by expanding its online presence and offering competitive pricing to stay relevant in the face of this growing threat.


    Walmart, a retail giant known for its low prices and extensive product offerings, also competes with Staples in the office supply market. Walmart offers a wide range of office supplies, including paper, ink cartridges, and writing instruments. While Staples may have a more specialized focus on office supplies, Walmart's competitive pricing and one-stop-shop convenience make it a strong competitor in the industry.


    Target, a popular retail chain, also competes with Staples in the office supply market. While Target's office supply section may not be as extensive as Staples, they offer a variety of products such as notebooks, pens, and desk organizers. Target attracts customers with its trendy and affordable products, often appealing to a younger demographic. Although Target may not be a direct competitor for larger office equipment or technology solutions, their presence in the market poses a challenge for Staples.

    Local and Independent Office Supply Stores

    In addition to the major retail competitors, Staples also faces competition from local and independent office supply stores. These smaller stores often cater to local businesses and provide personalized service. While they may not have the same extensive product selection or brand recognition as Staples, they can offer unique products and build relationships with their customers. These local stores often differentiate themselves by focusing on customer service and providing a more personal shopping experience.

    As Staples continues to navigate the competitive landscape, it faces challenges from both established giants like Office Depot/OfficeMax, Walmart, and Target, as well as the ever-growing presence of online retail, particularly Amazon. However, Staples has been able to maintain its market position by adapting its business model and focusing on customer needs, offering a combination of in-store and online shopping experiences to cater to a wide range of customers.

    Staples SWOT Analysis


    1. Strong brand recognition: Staples has been in operation for several decades and has established itself as a leading office supply retailer. The company's name is widely recognized and trusted by both individuals and businesses.

    2. Extensive product range: Staples offers a wide variety of products, ranging from office supplies and furniture to technology products and services. This comprehensive range allows the company to cater to the diverse needs of its customers, making it a one-stop-shop for all office-related needs.

    3. Robust distribution network: Staples has a well-established distribution network that ensures efficient delivery of products to its customers. The company operates numerous warehouses and fulfillment centers strategically located across different regions, enabling it to reach customers in a timely manner.

    4. Strong online presence: In recent years, Staples has made significant investments in its e-commerce platform, allowing customers to conveniently shop online. The company's website is user-friendly and offers a seamless shopping experience, with features such as easy navigation, personalized recommendations, and fast checkout.


    1. Declining sales in physical stores: With the rise of e-commerce, Staples has faced challenges in maintaining sales in its physical stores. The convenience and competitive prices offered by online retailers have led to a decrease in foot traffic, resulting in lower sales for Staples' brick-and-mortar locations.

    2. Reliance on office-related sales: Staples heavily relies on sales from office-related products, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in the business environment. Economic downturns or shifts in consumer behavior towards remote work can significantly impact the company's revenue.

    3. Limited international presence: While Staples has a strong presence in the United States, its international operations are relatively limited. This lack of global reach puts the company at a disadvantage compared to competitors with a more extensive global footprint.


    1. Expansion into new product categories: Staples has the opportunity to diversify its product offerings beyond traditional office supplies. By expanding into new categories such as home office furniture, technology gadgets, or even home organization solutions, the company can tap into new customer segments and increase its revenue potential.

    2. Focus on e-commerce growth: Staples can further capitalize on the growing trend of online shopping by investing in its e-commerce platform. Enhancing the website's features, improving the mobile shopping experience, and expanding online marketing efforts can attract more customers and increase online sales.

    3. Strategic partnerships: Collaborating with other companies, such as technology manufacturers or software providers, can create new opportunities for Staples. By bundling products or offering exclusive services, the company can differentiate itself from competitors and attract a broader customer base.


    1. Intense competition: Staples faces intense competition from both online and offline retailers in the office supply industry. Competitors such as Amazon, Walmart, and Office Depot offer similar products and services, often at competitive prices. This competition puts pressure on Staples to continuously innovate and differentiate itself to retain customers.

    2. Economic downturns: Staples' revenue is sensitive to economic conditions, particularly in the business sector. During economic downturns, businesses may reduce their spending on office supplies, negatively impacting Staples' sales.

    3. Technological advancements: Rapid technological advancements can pose a threat to Staples' traditional business model. As more companies adopt digital workplace solutions or shift towards paperless operations, the demand for physical office supplies may decline. Staples must adapt to these technological changes and offer innovative products and services to stay relevant in the market.

    Key Takeaways

    • Staples is owned by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm that acquired the company in 2017.
    • The mission statement of Staples is to be the world's most trusted source for office solutions, providing products, services, and expertise in the categories of office supplies, technology, furniture, and business services.
    • Staples makes money primarily through the sale of office supplies, technology products, furniture, and various business services to individual consumers and businesses.
    • The Staples Business Model Canvas includes key elements such as customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, and key partnerships.
    • Some of the main competitors of Staples include Office Depot, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.
    • A SWOT analysis of Staples reveals its strengths like a strong brand and wide product range, weaknesses such as declining sales in physical stores, opportunities like expanding e-commerce, and threats like intense competition and changing consumer behavior.


    In conclusion, Staples is owned by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm that acquired the company in 2017. The mission statement of Staples is to help businesses succeed by providing them with the products and services they need to run efficiently. Staples primarily makes money through the sale of office supplies, technology products, and business services. Their business model revolves around offering a wide range of products to cater to the needs of both small businesses and larger corporations. However, Staples faces competition from companies like Office Depot, Amazon, and Walmart, who also offer office supplies and business services. Conducting a SWOT analysis, Staples' strengths lie in its extensive product range and established brand presence. However, weaknesses such as declining sales in physical stores and the threat of online competitors pose challenges for the company. Despite these challenges, Staples has the opportunity to expand its e-commerce presence and tap into emerging markets. By leveraging their strengths and addressing their weaknesses, Staples can position itself as a leader in the office supplies industry.

    Want to create a presentation now?

    • instantly

      Instantly Create A Deck

      Let PitchGrade do this for me

    • smile

      Hassle Free

      We will create your text and designs for you. Sit back and relax while we do the work.

    Explore More Content