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 user 2010-03-22 at 10:50:31 am Views: 69
  • #23640

    Staples Deutchland
    Staples Deutschland was officially established on 1 February 2010, signalling the end of the Corporate Express name in GermanyMost OP industry observers would agree that Staples’ integration of Corporate Express in North America has been a success.Now the US giant’s efforts are gathering pace on the “old continent”, something which could be regarded as a bigger challenge than in North America given the number of individual markets, different cultures and the various businesses that Staples has acquired down the years.A key region, of course, is central Europe, which – in terms of Staples’ organisation at least -  includes Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland, although the German market is by far the largest.

    Staples’ strategy in Germany – as it is globally – is based on a multi-channel approach which leverages the Staples brand name across its three main business segments – retail, catalogue and contract. So, as well as integrating the former Corporate Express business, the catalogue and mail order business – with the exception of Pressel – is also being phased into a single identity under the Staples Direct name.

    It is probably no coincidence that leading independent dealer and one of Staples Advantage’s main competitors in southern Germany, Kaut-Bullinger, has recently rebranded its operations under a single name, as well.

    The beginning of 2010 was a significant milestone in the Corporate Express integration in Germany as the Corporate Express name made way for a new business name, Staples Advantage, and the renaming of the local entity to Staples Deutschland GmbH & Co KG on 1 February to coincide with the new financial year.

    The fit is a good one for Staples in Germany; Corporate Express was the leading B2B player in the large and mid markets in the country while Staples didn’t have a contract business to speak of, its presence mainly based on its 60 or so retail stores and its catalogue business.

    However, Staples found itself with three business units based in three locations: the German catalogue business was run out of the Belgian capital, Brussels, while retail was headquartered in Hamburg and Corporate Express’s German operations were based in Stuttgart.

    What has occurred over the last 18 months is what could be described as a “soft” integration. The Staples Direct German catalogue unit has moved to Stuttgart alongside the newly named Staples Advantage, while support staff for retail have remained in Hamburg which is closer to where the main store base is concentrated.

    In terms of logistics, Corporate Express was already in the process of integrating its own German logistics operations at Waldlaubersheim in central Germany at the time of the acquisition.This has now been completed, consolidating three previous locations into one state-of-the-art facility which employs over 150 staff and a capacity of approximately 25,000 packages per day.

    Staples Advantage has a growing customer base in the mid-market and a solid position within the blue-chips in Germany – including around half of the companies that are listed on the DAX stock exchange.Former Corporate Express initiatives, such as an end-user roadshow, have been maintained. Rebranded as Staples Bürotreff, the roadshow visits four leading German markets in the autumn, with each one attended by around 250 key purchasers from large organisations.

    Similarly, existing Staples marketing messages have been incorporated into the former Corporate Express business. For example, Staples’ “Easy” theme has been adopted by Staples Advantage in Germany, after already being accepted in the retail sector and is being used as a link across all the channels. “Einfach Easy” – literally “Simply Easy” – is the local “That was easy” equivalent and the company has also adopted the EcoEasy name for its environmentally friendly product offering and initiatives.It surely has not been an easy task over the last 18 months to get Staples Germany to where it is today.Once again, it is a credit to Staples’ handling of the Corporate Express acquisition that it appears that way from the outside