Am I Next? Layoffs at Staples


It is being widely reported that the company has laid off 200+ employees, mostly at the Framingham, Massachusetts headquarters, including layoffs in IT, Human Resources, and other staff functions.

A company spokesperson noted, “Any efforts we undertake to streamline the organisation are aimed at speeding our decision-making and enabling us to focus on our customers. We will continue to look at the best structure to compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace.”


It appears that Staples is consolidating its distribution operations and moving from Henderson, North Carolina to its enlarged distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Approximately 100 employees have been laid off. 

After its acquisition on September 12, 2017, by New York-based Sycamore Partners for $6.9 billion, multinational office supplies retailer Staples, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, laid off 177 workers, said to be mostly IT employees.  

From the TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) paperwork submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor, by a “Workforce Specialist” in Broomfield, Colorado, it is suggested that many of these jobs were outsourced to a foreign vendor.  

The Trade Act of 1974 (19 USC § 2271 et seq.), as amended, established Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to provide assistance to workers in firms hurt by foreign trade. Program benefits include long-term training while receiving income support. TAA provides both rapid and early assistance. Filing this petition is the first step in qualifying for TAA benefits and assistance. After the petition is filed, the U.S. Department of Labor will determine whether a significant number or proportion of the workers of the firm have become totally or partially separated or are threatened to become totally or partially separated, and whether imports or a shift in production or services to a foreign country contributed importantly to these actual or threatened separations and to a decline in sales or in production of articles or supply of services.  

The company refuses to comment, releasing only a terse statement. “We are strategically restructuring our organization in order to support the needs of our customers and align with our business priorities. As a matter of policy, we do not discuss staffing figures.” 

Many Staples employees are said to be fearing the one-year anniversary of the acquisition when existing agreements containing severance provisions may expire.  

The new Staples owner, Sycamore Partners, also owns other retailers such as Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Nine West, and Talbots. 

Ironically, on October 14, 2016, Staples posted an article on its website touting the benefits of outsourcing. “Business outsourcing can sometimes seem like a daunting strategy that adds more moving pieces to your business. However, when done correctly, it can add layers of expertise, release you from tedious chores and let you concentrate on running your business more effectively.”

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?