Business

Office Depot will close 112 stores

Office Depot Inc. will close about 9 percent of its North American stores and cut 2,200 jobs over the next three months while planning to open fewer locations next year in an effort to cut costs.

The plan to shut 112 stores will reduce the chain's base to 1,163. It plans to close 45 stores in the Central United States, 40 in the Northeast and Canada, 19 in the West and eight in the South.

The chain does not plan to close any in Kentucky, a spokesman said. It has two stores in Lexington, one at South Park and the other near Woodhill Drive. It also has stores in Nicholasville, Winchester and Frankfort.

Office Depot, which began the year with about 49,000 workers, also will close six of its 33 North American distribution facilities.

And the company said it plans to shut another 14 stores next year while opening 20 new sites, half of what it planned.

Analysts said the move was needed and will probably give the company a much-needed short-term financial boost as it struggles with lower sales and competition from companies such as Staples. It reported a third-quarter loss in October as consumers and small businesses cut back on spending.

Office Depot shares (NYSE: ODP) closed Wednesday at $2.65, up 22 cents or9.05 percent. But analysts said they doubted the effort would be enough to fix the company's financial condition.

"It's not enough to really close the gap and make a meaningful impact compared to Staples and the mass merchant competitors," said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.

The company plans to work with Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC to liquidate the material in the stores, a process it hopes to be completed by late March, according to a regulatory filing.

Herald-Leader staff writer Scott Sloan contributed to this report.

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