Staples on Tuesday said it has acquired business solutions HiTouch Business Services for an undisclosed amount.
HiTouch is a 15-year-old company offering office supplies, workspace design services and IT solutions, according to its website. It will become a part of the Staples Business Advantage delivery organization, the companies said.
HiTouch’s online marketplace will continue to be run by the HiTouch management team, and will help Staples’ growth into alternative distribution channels, according to a press release from the companies.
Both Staples and rival Office Depot are elevating their B2B services as the office supply retail market contracts.
Last year Staples announced a strategy that hinges on further penetrating the business-to-business market rather than direct-to-consumer sales — a move that comes as Amazon is also moving aggressively into the same area. The retailer is attempting to shift sales from stores to the online channel and hopes to reduce brick-and-mortar sales from 40% to 20% by 2020.
But things have gone mostly quiet now that Staples is privately held, acquired last year by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for approximately $6.9 billion. It was one of last year's biggest retail acquisitions and has given Staples some much-needed breathing room to complete a turnaround without scrutiny from Wall Street investors. The firm almost immediately began making major adjustments, including the split of its business-to-business and retail operations. Earlier this year the company tapped former Coca-Cola executive J. Alexander Douglas to replace Shira Goodman as CEO.
In a statement, Douglas described the HiTouch acquisition as a win for both companies, with Staples lending scale to HiTouch and HiTouch bringing the sales organization that Staples needs right now.
Rival Office Depot is also experiencing a time of transition and acquisition. The company last year bought IT provider CompuCom Systems for $1 billion. This year, the retailer said it's in the midst of training its sales force, rolling out new services and executing a store pilot in Austin, Texas that brings business services to the forefront.