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The Boston Herald has a story about how Staples continues to face pricing issues, competitive pressures from Amazon and "shrinking demand for core office supplies," all of which added up to a recent quarterly performance in which sales and margins were down.

Staples chairman/CEO Ron Sargent tells the paper that company's efforts at reinvention - focusing on business solutions as well as office supplies - seem to be having some impact, with online sales actually up six percent in the last quarter. But overall, prices are acknowledged to be too high. “In terms of our biggest online competitors, I think we are probably still a little high in terms of exact price, but we are doing a lot more price-matching at retail,” Sargent says. “We are doing a lot more dynamic pricing where we are changing prices several times a day in our online business.”

But the problem, analysts say, is that any money Staples makes will need to be reinvested in lower prices, which makes the prospect for reasonable profits anytime soon unlikely.
KC's View:
Staples is dealing with shrinking demand for its core offerings, and is coming to market with prices conceded to be 10-15 percent higher than Amazon. Not exactly a recipe for success.

It's interesting. Often, when I have need of a retailer that offers business solutions, I'll have a choice of FedEx Kinko's or Staples - they usually are near each other and in direct competition. And almost every time, I'll choose Kinko's … I'll only use Staples if I'm looking for pens and paper and that sort of stuff, which I tend to need less often than I used to. If I'm typical, that explains everything.

It will be a challenge for Staples to transform itself fast enough to stay viable and relevant. And it shows how important it is not to lose a step … because you can get trampled.