Ch6 Article 1 - Newcomers Challenge Office-Supply Stalwarts...

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Page 1 of 2 2009 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved. Newcomers Challenge Office-Supply Stalwarts By Joseph Pereira and Ann Zimmerman 1,035 words 29 April 2009 The Wall Street Journal J B1 English In the grinding recession, companies are finding ways to save even on the cost of the lowly office pen. And that has created an opening for discounters to steal business from the office-supply industry's big three. Online discounters and retail giants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. are cranking up their efforts to woo customers of the big office superstore chains -- Staples Inc., Office Depot Inc., and OfficeMax Inc. The result: a wave of price-competition that is benefiting lower-cost vendors and encouraging companies to switch suppliers. Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, a warehouse-store chain, last month began sending employees to small businesses to compare office-supplies prices, and plans to provide cost comparisons for 100,000 businesses by late May. Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, a New York group that promotes women entrepreneurs, switched its business to Sam's Club after a review of its Staples invoices. "It turns out we'll be saving more than $7,000 on an annual basis," said Nell Merlino, president and chief executive. Costco this summer will open its ninth warehouse store dedicated to selling supplies to small and mid-sized businesses. The Issaquah, Wash., retailer has seen "double-digit" sales growth from the centers, which are often located near office parks. "Office superstores do a better job of contract pricing for large companies. We do more small and
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Ch6 Article 1 - Newcomers Challenge Office-Supply Stalwarts...

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