The 2002 Globe 100
All the charts
6. S T A P L E S
Back to basics -- and profits
or the office-supply retailer, 2001 was an eventful year.
While he remains an active chairman, cofounder Tom Stemberg announced plans to turn over the chief executive's responsibilities to Ron Sargent. Sargent became CEO in February.
Framingham-based Staples also backed away from a controversial plan to pay a premium to board members in a buyback of their tracking shares in Staples. com, an Internet initiative that Staples once thought could be a separate business.
And at the fiscal year's end, Staples unveiled its "Back to Brighton" strategy, a back-to-basics approach that takes its name from the first store Stemberg opened, in 1986.
The strategic realignment aims to streamline the company, focus on the small businesses that are Staples's core customers, and put less emphasis on low-margin products that appeal to mainstream consumers.
To better serve small businesses, Staples is rolling out a new format it calls its Dover store. Smaller than previous stores, it is designed to cut costs and improve profitability.
Last year, Staples's sales rose slightly, to $10.74 billion. Net income jumped to about $265 million from about $60 million in the previous year, when the company took a one-time $206 million charge.
In Staples's annual report, Stemberg and Sargent noted that the company "made progress" in efforts to control costs and establish a platform for profitable growth.
"Staples stands well positioned to continue building on the success of the last 15 years," they wrote.