Staples on Tuesday announced a major brand revamp centered on "Worklife," reflecting what the company said in a press release is a new strategy "driven by the company's commitment to helping professionals make their workplaces more productive and connected, and to provide products and services designed to help inspire colleagues to do their best, most creative work."
The effort entails a retooling of the company's logo, bringing the staple forward more prominently and refining it and the font to be more "friendly and approachable." "The new simplified and modernized icon is also a more direct representation of the Staples' name," according to the release.
The office supplies retailer also unveiled a series of five private labels: TRU RED office essentials like pens, notebooks, shredders, organizational accessories and more; NXT Technologies electronics accessories like surge protectors, speakers and chargers; Coastwide Professional facility supplies like janitorial carts and cleaning supplies; Union & Scale office furniture and décor, and a still-to-be-released line of breakroom supplies, dubbed Perk.
While Staples and rival Office Depot are each regrouping after they failed to merge a couple of years ago, and both have added business-focused services and solutions to balance consumer sales, Staples appears to be putting more effort into its retail side with new private label launches.
In a video accompanying its brand announcements, the company sought to elevate its wares: "It's not just copy paper, it's helping your team crush their 100-page report," the video states. "It's not just a chair, it's a comfortable, happier and more productive colleague."
The rebranding comes amid signs that the retailer's turnaround could be hampered financially by its private equity owner. Bloomberg reported last week that private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which bought Staples in 2017, is eyeing a recapitalization plan that would load the office supplies retailer with roughly $1 billion in additional debt.
While its new "Worklife" emphasis seems business-focused, much of its marketing around the new labels appears geared to retail consumers. The Worklife marketing is also reminiscent of that of coworking companies like The Work Company (formerly known as WeWork), but Staples is abandoning that space, at least for now.
In February the office supplies retailer and coworking company Workbar announced the end of their partnership, a pilot at three Massachusetts stores, but Staples Chief Merchandising Officer Peter Scala said the company will incorporate what it learned from it to develop its own coworking concept within its other small-business services.