Newell Brands — the maker of Sharpie, Paper Mate pens and Elmer's Glue, among other products — recently interrupted its shipments to Office Depot over a dispute about how the office supplies retailer was marketing its goods, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The move led to a 10% sales decline in the division that makes those items, according to the report. A spokesperson for Newell Brands confirmed it had a dispute with a retailer but declined to name the company. The dispute has since been resolved "to mutual benefit," the spokesperson said. Office Depot didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
The altercation comes amid upheaval in the office supplies space, which has Office Depot and rival Staples pivoting to focus more on business customers and Amazon seizing more office supplies sales to consumers and businesses alike.
Big box retailers often flex muscles at their vendors in an effort to rein in costs. Amazon, for example, this month reportedly began a game of hardball with consumer goods vendors like Procter and Gamble, raising shipping fees for heavy and/or bulky goods like diapers and beverages. And Walmart, long known for such gambits, is leaning on suppliers to tighten their deadlines.
But once in a while suppliers flip the script. Vendors and retailers forge what should be win-win agreements regarding marketing and promotions, including details like wording in flyers and shelf space. But Newell says that Office Depot didn't live up to theirs, though the details weren't available, according to the Journal's report.
Vendors often halt shipments if they think a retailer can't or won't pay its bills, as when retailers are near or in bankruptcy, which Toys R Us found last year, as did Gymboree, among others. But other issues can also irritate brands enough to pull their wares. Two years ago, Birkenstock USA yanked its footwear from Amazon, saying the e-commerce giant wasn't doing enough to crack down on fakes being sold on its marketplace.
The brand hasn't resolved the issue, as its sandals are still being sold by Amazon's third-party sellers. Office Depot and Newell, though, have reportedly come to terms, according to the Journal.