Retail Stores

Q. In 2006 you sold the Crane retail stores. Do you fear that you’re getting away from the core product the company is known for?

A. No. We had 23 retail stores, and we closed some and sold the balance. We sell to 4,000 independent stores, but that number is dwindling. What we’re doing is recognizing the dynamics of how stationery products are distributed. Until 10 or 12 years ago we didn’t have stores. We always sold our products through independent retailers and we saw a trend where these were closing. At the time we thought the smart thing to do was to open our own stores, but the marketplace has changed. We’ve seen the advent of multiunit operators, including Papyrus and Blue Tulip, that specialize in stationery. Their business model is to grow by opening stores.

We felt they were in the business of retailing and marketing stationery products. We feel we’re the best papermakers in the world but perhaps not the best marketers. Our strategy is to partner with those we think are the best. In addition our, national account business — retailers like Barnes & Noble — is growing, and our online business is probably growing the fastest of any channel.

Olsen, Patricia R. “Changing Times for A Maker of Very Important PaperNew York Times. 7 February 2009.


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