Staples Inc. is doubling down on its plan to increase B2B services with its latest acquisition. The retailer has acquired HiTouch Business Services, one of the largest independent office products dealers in the United States, for an undisclosed amount.
Staples, along with its chief rival Office Depot, has been competing for what amounts to a shrinking share of the office supply retail market. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired Staples in 2017 in a bid to make the company less dependent on consumer foot traffic and more focused on B2B offerings.
This latest deal is being seen as a big step in that direction. HiTouch has three operating divisions that sell:
- office products;
- workspace design services; and
- information technology products and services.
Staples Business Advantage Strategy
The company will now be part of the Staples Business Advantage delivery organization and its customers will have access to an expanded assortment of products, e-commerce tools, and Staples’ supply chain, the companies said.
In a prepared statement, Staples CEO Sandy Douglas said:
“The combination of HiTouch’s sales organization and the strength of Staples will allow us to give customers an even higher level of service. We will continue to look for strategic opportunities like this one where we feel we can help create better options for businesses in the marketplace.”
HiTouch, founded roughly 15 years ago, will continue operating its marketplace website. The site will “continue to serve as an independent platform run by the HiTouch management team, and will help Staples’ growth into alternative distribution channels,” the company said.
M&A for Business Transformation?
Rival Office Depot, meanwhile, acquired BizBox in March of this year, which provides digital marketing and website design and hosting services as well as online management applications for finance, accounting, HR, CRM, and payroll operations. Office Depot also acquired CompuCom in 2017 as part of an aggressive push into SMB IT solutions and managed IT services.