Staples and Office Depot are two of the largest stationary and related equipment chains in the US, as well as Staples being an international brand name.
There have been many discussions of the merger of Staples and Office Depot over the years starting in 1996 when plans of a merger were announced. However, the merger was stopped by the Federal Trade Commission as it was believed that it would be unfair on consumers as the combined retail giant would have too much of a monopoly on office products and hence be able to push prices up too much.
Since then Staples and Office Depot has been big commercial rivals in the same field with both retailers managing to survive in the tough times. However, there has been one other big player in the stationary and office supplies industry in the US and that is OfficeMax and now that the recession is really biting in the US it is thought that the decline in earnings for office Depot in particular means that they will need to merge with officeMax in order to be able to compete with Staples.
Economic times have changed since the proposed merger of Staples and Office Depot in 1996 so it would be interesting to see what developments are made in this industry in the next year as otherwise it looks likely that at least one player may fall by the wayside after the massive falls in the purchasing of office equipment over the last 4-5 years.