Office Depot Inc. recorded revenues of $14,278.9 million during the fiscal year ended December 2005, an increase of 5.3% over 2004. Company could not translate this increase into profitability owing to some intense competition in the sector. As a result the company could generate an operating profit of $348 million during FY 2005, a decrease of 34.3% over 2004 while the net profit was $273.8 million in fiscal year 2005, a decrease of 18.4% over 2004. However the quarterly results for FY 2006 have been quite encouraging so far. The final figures for third quarter indicate an operating profit of $55 millions as compared to $42 million for the same period in 2005. Company is now on a massive expansion spree with newer acquisitions like Papirius with operations in Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia. Office Depot has also entered the biggest consumer market and one of the fastest growing economies i.e. China with the acquisition of AsiaEC, one of the largest dealers of office products and services in China.
It is worthwhile here to mention that the company is not dealing with too many retail customers, therefore it is not possible to interview the retail customers as such. The best method to study and analyze a company operating in B2B environment is;
i. To sift through the reports from some of the marketing agencies, company's quarterly/ annual reports, newspapers and journals
ii. Speaking to some of the business customers and gathering their feedback.
Therefore, I carried out this research mainly by studying and analyzing the latest Internal reports, annual reports/ quarterly reports of Office Depot, market research by Datamonitor, newspapers, Journals and other printed materials. In addition I also studied the reports of some of its competitors like Circuit City Group Inc., IKON Office Solutions, Inc., Staples, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and United Stationers Inc.
Office Depot is the second largest office products company in the US selling a wide range of office supplies, business machines, computers office furniture and related products through superstores in major regions like North America, Europe and Japan, besides using other channels like contract delivery sales force, and the internet. As compared to other divisions, the North American delivery division has recorded strong growth in fiscal year 2005.
Strong Brand Image: Though a relatively newer company, but Office Depot has been able to establish a strong brand image. In the US, Office Depot has become synonymous with office products. Adopting the tagline "Taking Care of Business" into its logo has further given it a unique identity. The company has successfully finalized a multi-year alliance with NASCAR under which it became NASCAR's official office products partner. This has helped in boosting the brand visibility of Office Depot products. While entering newer markets, like the Asian subcontinent, a strong brand image helps in an easy and formidable entry.
Balanced Product Mix: Product mix of Office Depot includes branded office products and own brands with general office supplies, computer supplies, business machines and related supplies, and office furniture under various labels, including Office