Former Staples chain Office Outlet in administration

Office Outlet

The former Staples stationery chain, Office Outlet, is in administration, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

The retailer has no connection to the online-only business which trades under the Staples UK name.

Two partners at business services firm Deloitte were appointed joint administrators on Monday.

Office Outlet, which is part-owned by Hilco, the former HMV owner, has 90 UK stores, which will continue to trade while a buyer is sought.

The administrators said the chain had suffered as demand for stationery supplies had continued to fall and its suppliers cut the credit terms on which it trades.

Office Outlet chief executive Chris Yates led a management buyout of the company last September, leaving Hilco as a minority owner.

“Over the last two years the business has been transformed from the heavily loss-making old Staples business to a near break even modern multichannel retailer,” Mr Yates said.

“However, additional growth capital was required to continue delivery of the next stage of the management buyout business plan. Despite being highly impressed by the Office Outlet story potential investors have held back due to retail sector sentiment and the general level of uncertainty.”

Joint administrator Richard Hawes said: “The company has recently experienced a reduction in credit from key suppliers, given the economic outlook which has severely impacted the financial position of the company.”

But he went on to say he was hopeful that a buyer could be found and that the business would carry on trading “with that in mind”.

Office Outlet ran into difficulty last August, when it arranged to close a number of stores under a form of insolvency called a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Hilco bought the UK stores of US-chain Staples in 2016, renaming it Office Outlet.