UPDATED EXCLUSIVE: Staples ditches Corporate Express name

From October 29, CE will begin trading as Staples Australia

It's the end of an era. From Monday, October 29, Corporate Express will begin trading as Staples Australia.

In a letter to partners, the company said that bringing its local operations further in line with our international operations meant customers will benefit from a broader range of products, greater value due to strengthened global sourcing capability, and enhanced ordering and reporting processes and technologies.

"We want to make this change easy for our customers. All legal entities, current contracts and ordering mechanisms will remain in place," it said in the letter.

"There is however one change you will need to make and this is to change our payee name in your finance records. Purchase Orders from Monday, 29 October will be coming from Staples Australia Pty Limited. We will send your designated Accounts Receivable contact further details confirming the change that needs to be made and a further note to this effect will also be sent early in November."

Partners with further questions about the change in company name are asked to contact Account Payable on (02) 93350231.

It will be “business as usual” as far as the day-to-day operations of the company go, said Corporate Express National Sales Manager IT solutions, Karl Sice. Sice is now head of Staples Technology Solutions.

The rebranding was an “obvious decision” aimed at taking advantage of the parent company’s global brand as its customer base becomes more global, said Sice, noting that the company has been operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Staples’ since its acquisition in 2010.

Many global businesses in Australia are looking for a common platform for global procurement as Staples’ is already well-established in the US and UK markets. As an IT solutions and office products provider, nothing is expected to change with regards to its functioning, he said.

Rebranding is much less of a challenge for existing customers for a non-consumer-based company such as soon-to-be Staples Australia.

“We are not a consumer-based company, we work with businesses…maybe it would be a different proposition if we were a retail business," said Sice.

The company will continue to place extra emphasis on its key vendors like HP, Lenovo and Microsoft as part of a broader strategy to create efficiencies in IT procurement, he said. It will also make a big push in the middle market and its office products business.

Staples acquired 92 per cent of the Corporate Express shares on July 26, 2010. As a result of the acquisition, Corporate Express announced in February this year that it would make about five per cent of its headcount redundant due to a cost restructuring.

It was also redeploying resources to take advantage of the growth opportunities. Corporate Express’ IT division was affected by the restructure.

“We are moving to rightsize costs,” Corporate Express president, Australia and New Zealand, Jay Mutschler, said at the time.

“Many companies right now are experiencing the soft market, which does mean a relatively small number of redundancies, and in other areas we are redeploying people.”

In late June, Sice told ARN the company planned to reduce its vendor base to three to five key vendors in an effort to simplify both its and customers' IT procurement process, .

This was part of the company’s broader strategy to improve efficiency across its business, collaborate more, as well as grow into “adjacent” verticals, he said.

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