Staples Inc. plans to close stores as part of turnaround effort

Staples Inc. on Tuesday announced plans to turn around its retail business by closing US and international stores, reducing the size of existing shops, restructuring its international business, and shaking up leadership.

The Framingham-based office supply chain said in a press release that it planned to trim its retail square footage in North America by about 15 percent by the end of 2015; that plan includes shutting 30 stores and downsizing or relocating another 30 locations during fiscal year 2012. (Staples has about 1,900 stores in North America.)

The company is also consolidating its retail and online operations, closing 45 stores and delivery businesses in Europe, pursuing the sale of its European printing systems business, and appointing a new president of Staples Europe.

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“Our vision is to establish Staples as the single-source product authority for millions of businesses,” Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are building on the strengths that are the foundation of our success by focusing on five key priorities: accelerate growth in our online businesses; fully integrate retail and online; improve retail store productivity; restructure our international operations; and return cash to stakeholders.”

The strategic plan was unveiled several weeks after Staples disclosed quarterly earnings that plunged 32 percent; reports then surfaced that private equity firms, including Boston’s Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, are considering making bids for the company.

To read a Globe story about that, please click here.

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