Alkor takes over majority of retail stores from Office Depot in France
Venlo, The Netherlands, 04/06/2021
Following the commencement of court supervised restructuring proceedings (Redressement Judiciaire) filed by the local management of Office Depot FRANCE in February 2021, the insolvency bodies of the Commercial Court of Lille have approved particularly the sale of the majority of the retail business to Alkor.
Despite local management’s efforts, the business of Office Depot FRANCE, which also operates retail stores, had accumulated losses for over a decade prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and was then severely affected by the lockdown.
As part of the proceedings, a sales process has been conducted by the court appointed administrators. Interested parties had explored viable options over the last few weeks. Aside from management, there was interest from several strategic bidders who outlined their consolidation and integration plans, which were backed up by a strategic resource base.
Alkor is a cooperative founded 60 years ago with a consolidated turnover of 440 million euros. The group employs 1,850 people and works with 157 member retailers throughout France and the overseas territories operating in the stationery and office supplies market. Alkor will integrate the Office Depot stores in its existing portfolio of network, which is as of today Majuscule, Burolike and Ioburo.
The acquisition foresees the continuation of 50 out of 60 retail stores, the employment of 460 employees as well as an outplacement program for further up to 370 employees, underpinned by a solid business plan and financing. Alkor will provide a new home for the employees and Office Depot Europe will support the business transition to the new owner through a Transition Service Agreement covering both IT and the brand. Alkor is a strategic buyer and was one of a number of interested parties. Based on the solid financial plan presented, Office Depot Europe is confident that a good long-term solution has been found for the Office Depot France retail business.
Over the last years, the French operations have been conducted independently of the rest of Office Depot Europe on a stand-alone basis and, as such, the sale has no influence on the rest of the Group and business in all other European countries will continue as usual.
Office Depot Europe continuing its strategic roadmap and realignment
Over the last two years, Office Depot Europe has focused on its core European markets. As part of this strategy, Office Depot Europe has successfully sold its Central Eastern European business in November 2019, the Nordic division in May 2020, the Spanish Contract and Direct business units in the summer of 2020 and the Italian business earlier this year.
Moving forward, Office Depot Europe will continue the focus on its e-commerce centric business in its core European countries, where it benefits from a strong and leading position.
Furthermore, it will continue to implement Viking+, its transformation programme that was launched in 2020. Under Viking+, Office Depot Europe is streamlining and simplifying its structures and systems, and merging its Contract and Direct businesses, refocussing its business around its e-commerce focused omni-channel brand, Viking. The last months have seen significant progress in the programme and Office Depot Europe will continue the programme according to the roadmap and targets.
Focusing on its core markets, the development of its online focused business and on its Viking+ programme will ensure Office Depot Europe’s long-term position as a successful and leading supplier of workplace solutions in the market.