"Tumultuous" is not usually the description you want to hear for the kind of year your company has been having, but it would be an apt word to describe 2005 at OfficeMax
The year began with the company's CEO resigning in the wake of an accounting scandal, continued through consecutive quarters of lower sales and profits, and ended with a disgruntled shareholder -- hedge fund K Capital -- demanding that management act to unlock shareholder value. The stock bore the weight of the troubles, declining 17% for the year, although there was a 30% difference between the stock's 52-week high and low share price.
To meet these challenges and compete more effectively against Staples
Now, you might be wondering what exactly an office supply retailer is doing with a building materials plant. Think back to 2003, when OfficeMax was bought out by Boise Cascade, a manufacturer of paper, wood products, and building materials. When Boise took over OfficeMax, it kept the office supplies company name and has carried the wood-polymer plant on its books as a discontinued operation.
However, in the wake of its upheaval, OfficeMax may just be thinking about changing its name to OfficeBucks. At the same time it will be closing its superstores, it will be opening 70 new "Advantage" stores, which will seek to offer customers an Internet cafe-style experience while making copies. Tables will be grouped by the copy center with free, individually brewed cups of coffee, Wi-Fi Internet access, and TV news. The rest of the store will be laid out in the familiar big-box racetrack format, which allows customers to quickly locate a department by following a broad path around the perimeter of the store, with the central focal point being a new "technology hub" featuring high-tech office equipment.
It's not as daring or radical as, say, Radio Shack's
Maybe next year OfficeMax will stop bleeding red ink (why is it that all office suppliers market themselves using the color red, anyway?), and we'll be able to use words like "serene" or "tranquil" to describe its operations. Of course, investors might prefer to see liberal use of the words "growth," "expansion," and "profits" instead.
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