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Office Depot to close at least 400 stores

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Office Depot announced that it will close at least 400 U.S. stores over the next two years.

Reuters reported the company would shutter 150 outlets this year; it closed 14 stores in the first quarter. The company has not said where the cuts will come. Office Depot operates at least nine stores in Minnesota, including outlets in Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, Minnetonka, Burnsville and St. Cloud.

The store closures are a part of the company's plan to consolidate operations after the $1.2 billion acquisition of OfficeMax in November. The Associated Press noted that Office Depot had 1,900 U.S. outlets at the end of the first quarter, so the plans call for closing about 21 percent of them. Office Depot said it has not quantified the number of jobs that will be affected by the store closures.

Office Depot and rival Staples have seen declining sales as shoppers shift their office supply purchases to e-retailers, mass merchants and drugstores.

In March, Staples said it would close 225 stores in the United States and Canada, about 12 percent of its North America outlets. At the same time, Staples announced a plan to refresh about 20 percent of the products in its stores, adding new items in categories beyond office supplies, such as storage solutions. According to its website, Staples has five Minnesota outlets.

Last month, WCCO Radio reported that postal workers protested outside Staples stores in the Twin Cities, objecting to an agreement between the U.S Postal Service and the chain of office supply stores that would put post office outlets inside the retail stores.

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