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Table of Contents

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, DC 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15 (d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 25, 2021

Or

Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15 (d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

For the transition period from                                      to                                     

Commission file number 1-10948

The ODP Corporation

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

85-1457062

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

6600 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida

 

33496

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(561) 438-4800

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of Each Exchange on which Registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

 

ODP

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market

(NASDAQ Global Select Market)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days: Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files): Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 27, 2021 (based on the closing market price of the common stock on the Composite Tape on June 25, 2021) was approximately $2,542,594,095 (determined by subtracting from the number of shares outstanding on that date the number of shares held by affiliates of the registrant).

The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock, as of the latest practicable date: At February 16, 2022, there were 48,486,904 outstanding shares of The ODP Corporation Common Stock, $0.01 par value.

Documents Incorporated by Reference:

Certain information required for Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is incorporated by reference to The ODP Corporation’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after close of the registrant’s fiscal year covered by this Annual Report.

 

 


 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

The order and presentation of this Annual Report on Form 10-K differ from that of the traditional U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Form 10-K format. We believe that our format better presents the relevant sections of this document and enhances readability. See “Form 10-K Cross-Reference Index” within Financial Statements and Supplemental Details for a cross-reference index to the traditional SEC Form 10-K format.

 

 

 

 

Fundamentals of Our Business

 

Page

The Company

 

3

How We Organize Our Business

 

4

Our Capital

 

5

Our Strategy

 

6

Who Manages Our Business

 

9

Other Key Information

 

 

Risk Factors

 

11

Properties

 

24

Legal Proceedings

 

25

Market for Our Common Stock, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

26

Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A)

 

 

Overview

 

28

Operating Results by Division

 

33

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

40

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

43

Significant Trends, Developments and Uncertainties

 

45

Market Sensitive Risks and Positions

 

46

Seasonality

 

47

New Accounting Standards

 

47

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

47

Controls and Procedures

 

 

Management’s Disclosures

 

47

Auditor's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

49

Reference to the Proxy Statement

 

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

50

Executive Compensation

 

50

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

50

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

50

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

50

Financial Statements and Supplemental Details

 

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

51

Signatures

 

54

Auditor’s Report on the Financial Statements

 

56

Consolidated Statements of Operations

 

58

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (Loss)

 

59

Consolidated Balance Sheets

 

60

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

 

61

Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity

 

62

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

 

63

Form 10-K Cross-Reference Index

 

109

 

 

 

1


 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2021 (“Annual Report”) contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Reform Act”), that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include both historical information and other information that can be used to infer future performance. Examples of historical information include annual financial statements and the commentary on past performance contained in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”). While certain information has specifically been identified as being forward-looking in the context of its presentation, we caution you that, with the exception of information that is historical, all the information contained in this Annual Report should be considered to be “forward-looking statements” as referred to in the Reform Act. Without limiting the generality of the preceding sentence, any time we use the words “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “continue,” “may,” “will” and similar expressions, we intend to clearly express that the information deals with possible future events and is forward-looking in nature. Certain information in MD&A is clearly forward-looking in nature, and without limiting the generality of the preceding cautionary statements, we specifically advise you to consider all of MD&A in the light of the cautionary statements set forth herein.

Much of the information in this Annual Report that looks towards future performance of The ODP Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries is based on various factors and important assumptions about future events that may or may not actually come true. As a result, our operations and financial results in the future could differ materially and substantially from those we have discussed in this Annual Report. Significant factors that could impact our future results are provided in “Risk Factors” within Other Key Information in this Annual Report. Other risk factors are incorporated into the text of MD&A, which should itself be considered a statement of future risks and uncertainties, as well as management’s view of our businesses. We assume no obligation (and specifically disclaim any such obligation) to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

In this Annual Report, unless the context otherwise requires, the “Company,” “ODP,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to The ODP Corporation and its subsidiaries. On June 30, 2020, Office Depot, Inc., the predecessor of The ODP Corporation, implemented a holding company reorganization (the “Reorganization”), which resulted in The ODP Corporation becoming the parent company of, and the successor issuer to, Office Depot, Inc. For purposes of this Annual Report, references to “we,” or the “Company” or its management or business at any period prior to the holding company reorganization (June 30, 2020) refer to Office Depot, Inc. as the predecessor company and its consolidated subsidiaries and thereafter to those of The ODP Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries, except as otherwise specified or to the extent the context otherwise indicates.


2


 

 

THE COMPANY

The ODP Corporation is a holding company that, through direct and indirect subsidiaries, maintains a fully integrated business-to-business (“B2B”) distribution platform of thousands of dedicated sales and technology service professionals, online presence and 1,038 retail stores, all supported by supply chain facilities and delivery operations. Through our banner brands Office Depot®, OfficeMax® and Grand & Toy®, as well as others, we offer our customers the tools and resources they need to focus on starting, growing and running their businesses.

We were incorporated in the state of Delaware in 1986 with the name Office Depot, Inc. and opened our first retail store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on October 9, 1986. Since then, we have become a leading provider of business services and supplies, products and digital workplace technology solutions to small, medium-sized and enterprise businesses.

In March 2020, we completed a holding company reorganization, which provided us with the flexibility to simplify our legal structure and more closely align our operating assets to their respective operating channels. We have mostly completed that realignment. The reorganization created a new holding company, The ODP Corporation, which became the new parent company of Office Depot, Inc. Our long-term strategy is to grow our B2B business, serve our customers in the new normal environment, and help to shape the future of work. As part of this strategy, we are optimizing our retail footprint to provide coverage in key areas in the U.S. which will focus on supporting the needs of our business customers as well as our consumers. In addition, we are evolving our B2B business to include a new digital procurement platform, which has been named Varis, and is focused on transforming the B2B procurement and sourcing industry. This strategy to deliver customer-focused value through our integrated B2B distribution platform is founded on three strategic pillars:

 

TRANSFORM

 

STRENGTHEN

 

DISRUPT

our business

 

our core

 

for our future

 

 

 

 

 

Develop B2B digital platform

 

Business services growth

 

Retail optimization

 

Grow B2B value proposition

 

Low cost business model

 

Leverage distribution assets

 

Expand product and service offerings

 

Supply Chain as a service

 

Analytics Excellence / AI

FISCAL YEAR

Our fiscal year results are based on a 52- or 53-week calendar ending on the last Saturday in December. Fiscal year 2021 had 52 weeks and ended on December 25, 2021. Fiscal year 2020 had 52 weeks and ended on December 26, 2020. Fiscal year 2019 had 52 weeks and ended on December 28, 2019. Certain subsidiaries operate on a calendar year basis; however, the reporting difference did not have a material impact on 2021 and the other periods presented.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

We make available, free of charge, on the “Investor Relations” section of our website, www.officedepot.com, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such materials to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, such as the Company, that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is www.sec.gov.

Additionally, our corporate governance materials, including our bylaws, corporate governance guidelines, charters of the Audit, Compensation & Talent, and Corporate Governance & Nominating Committees, and our code of ethical behavior may be found under the “Investor Relations” section of our website, www.officedepot.com.

3


 

 

HOW WE ORGANIZE OUR BUSINESS

 

At December 25, 2021, our operations are organized into two reportable segments (or “Divisions”): Business Solutions Division, which we also refer to as BSD, and Retail Division. During the third quarter of 2021, our Board of Directors provided their alignment with management’s commitment to a plan to sell its CompuCom Division through a single disposal group. Accordingly, that business is presented as discontinued operations in this Annual Report. The sale of CompuCom was subsequently completed on December 31, 2021. Additional information regarding our Divisions and operations in geographic areas is presented in MD&A and in Note 5. “Segment Information” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements located in Financial Statements and Supplemental Details of this Annual Report.

BUSINESS SOLUTIONS DIVISION

The Business Solutions Division, or BSD, is the largest component of our integrated B2B distribution platform in terms of both revenue and customers, and provides our business customers with nationally branded and private branded office supply products and services, as well as adjacency products and services in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada through a dedicated sales force, catalogs, telesales, and electronically through our Internet websites. Adjacency products primarily include cleaning and breakroom supplies, personal protective equipment, technology and furniture and our service offerings are comprised of copy and print services, product subscriptions, and managed print and fulfillment services. BSD includes the regional office supply distribution businesses we have acquired as part of our strategic transformation described within Our Strategy.

The Business Solutions Division is comprised of two main sales channels: contract and direct.

Our contract sales channel serves business customers including small, medium-sized, and enterprise businesses as well as schools and local, state and national governmental agencies. We also enter into agreements with consortiums to sell to entities across many industries, including government and non-profit entities, in non-exclusive buying arrangements.

Our direct sales channel primarily serves small to medium-sized business customers. Direct business customers can order products through our eCommerce platform, from our catalogs, or by phone. Website functionality provides consumers the convenience of using the loyalty program and offers suggestions by product ratings, pricing, and brand, among other features. Business customer orders are fulfilled through our supply chain. See “Supply Chain” within Our Strategy for additional information on our supply chain network.

In 2021, we continued to build on several initiatives to strengthen the core of our Business Solutions Division, including the following:

 

improve our sales efficiency and value proposition with a targeted growth approach utilizing intelligence tools;

 

focus on demand-generation via a shift to digital marketing and investment in our eCommerce platform;

 

improve business customer acquisition and retention trends by realigning our sales organization;

 

drive sales in our adjacency categories by adding dedicated selling and operational resources;

 

partner with key vendors to add new products to our assortment of offerings; and

 

increase our focus on services, including growing current offerings in technology and print, and identifying new services that complement our existing product and fulfillment capabilities.

RETAIL DIVISION

The Retail Division markets a broad assortment of merchandise through our chain of retail stores throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The retail stores operate under both the Office Depot and OfficeMax brands, though systems, processes and offerings have converged. We currently offer nationally branded and private branded office supply products as well as adjacency products such as cleaning and breakroom supplies, personal protective equipment, technology and furniture. See “Merchandising and Services” within Our Strategy for additional information on our product categories. In addition, our Retail Division offers a range of business-related services targeted to small businesses, technology support services as well as printing, copying, mailing and shipping services. The print needs for retail and business customers are also facilitated through our regional print production centers.

 

4


 

 

At the end of 2021, the Retail Division operated 1,038 retail stores. We have a broad representation across North America with the largest concentration of our retail stores in Texas, California, and Florida. Most of our retail stores are located in leased facilities that currently average over 20,000 square feet. To better serve our customers any way they choose to shop, we have a Buy Online-Pickup in Store (“BOPIS”) offering, and a 20 minute in-store or curbside pick-up guarantee for online orders placed two hours before our store closing time in all locations. We also offer same-day delivery in selected markets. Sales under these programs are serviced by store employees and fulfilled with store inventory and therefore are reported in the Retail Division results.

In 2019, we implemented the Business Acceleration Program, a company-wide, multi-year, cost reduction and business improvement program to systematically drive down costs, improve operational efficiencies, and enable future growth investments. In 2020, we implemented the Maximize B2B Restructuring Plan, a restructuring plan to realign our operational focus to support our “business-to-business” solutions and improve costs. The Maximize B2B Restructuring Plan is broader than restructuring programs we have implemented in the past and includes closing retail stores through the end of 2023. Since the implementation of the Business Acceleration Program and the Maximize B2B Restructuring plan, we have closed a total of 263 retail stores as a result of these plans. Refer to Note 3. “Merger, Restructuring and Other Activity” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

OUR CAPITAL

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

We currently operate under the brand names Office Depot®, OfficeMax® and Grand & Toy®, as well as others. We hold trademark registrations and pending applications domestically and worldwide for these operating brands as well as for a wide assortment of private branded products and services including “Office Depot,” “TUL®,” “Ativa®,” “Foray®,” “Realspace®,” “WorkPro®,” “Brenton Studio®,” “Highmark®,” “Executive Suite®,” “Juku®,”and others. We also hold issued patents and pending patent applications domestically and worldwide for certain private branded products, such as shredders, office chairs and writing instruments.

HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT

As of January 22, 2022, we had approximately 26,000 full-time and part-time employees from continuing operations as compared to 37,000 full-time and part-time employees in 2021. The year-on-year change is mainly attributable to the sale of our CompuCom Division, which was completed on December 31, 2021, as well as planned store closures and other cost cutting measures. We also utilize independent contractors and temporary personnel to supplement our workforce. Our key human capital management objectives are to attract, retain and develop talent to drive our strategy for long-term success.

Our Board of Directors provides oversight on certain human capital management matters, including through its Compensation & Talent Committee. The Compensation & Talent Committee is responsible for overseeing and providing perspective on our strategies and policies including with respect to diversity and inclusion, pay equity, recruiting, retention, training and development, and workplace environment and safety consistent with our culture, objectives and strategy. We believe in maintaining a supportive and inclusive culture that values everyone’s talents, life experiences and backgrounds. We are proud of the diversity within our Board of Directors, comprised of 33% female directors and 33% of directors who are People of Color. Our total workforce is 41% female.

Human capital development underpins our efforts to execute our strategy. We invest in our employees’ career growth and provide employees with a range of development opportunities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our training and educational programs switched exclusively to virtual settings, and we swiftly pivoted to offer online courses to associates across all banners.

We have a demonstrated history of investing in our workforce through comprehensive and competitive compensation and benefits, and a focus on employee health and wellbeing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and based upon the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and local health authorities, we maintain appropriate measures to help reduce the spread of infection to our employees and customers, including increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in our facilities. While we have reopened our corporate headquarters, certain employees who are able to work productively from home, continue to work remotely. We continue to have employees in our retail stores, customer support and distribution centers working on-site at our facilities, as well as technicians and field support on-site at customer locations. Employee business travel remains limited to only essential business needs.

5


 

 

OUR STRATEGY

STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION

Since 2017, we have been undergoing a strategic business transformation to pivot ODP into an integrated B2B distribution platform, with the objective of expanding our product offerings to include value-added services for our customers and capture greater market share. As part of this transformation, we are evolving our B2B business and developing a new digital platform technology business, which has been named Varis, and aim to transform the B2B procurement and sourcing industry by filling the growing demand for a modern, trusted, digital B2B platform. In connection with our development efforts in this area, in January 2021, we acquired BuyerQuest Holdings, Inc. (“BuyerQuest”), a business services software company with an eProcurement platform. BuyerQuest’s operating results are included in our Varis segment.

We continue to expand our reach and distribution network through acquisitions of profitable regional office supply distribution businesses, serving small and mid-market customers. Many of these customers are in geographic areas that were previously underserved by our network. This has allowed for an effective and accretive means to expand our distribution reach, target new business customers and grow our offerings beyond traditional office supplies.

The operating results of the acquired office supply distribution businesses are combined with our operating results subsequent to their purchase dates and are included in our Business Solutions Division. Refer to Note 2. “Acquisitions” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

In January 2021, our Board of Directors announced that as a result of a business review of CompuCom, management had initiated a process to explore a value-maximizing sale of our CompuCom Division. The sale of CompuCom was completed on December 31, 2021. Refer to “Recent Developments” in MD&A for additional information on this sale.

In May 2021, our Board of Directors unanimously approved a plan to pursue a separation of the Company into two independent, publicly traded companies. When the plan was announced, we expected to structure it as a tax-free spin-off of our B2B related operations. Following further review, we determined that we should utilize the flexibility created by the holding company reorganization in 2020 to structure the separation as a tax-free spin-off of our consumer business, with us retaining our B2B related operations (the “Separation”), as further described below. We believe that this modified approach will be more efficient considering that it is expected that the majority of the Company’s current management team and Directors will remain with the B2B business which will continue to be owned by “The ODP Corporation.” In December 2021, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal from a third party other than USR Parent, Inc. to acquire our consumer business. The terms of that proposal are confidential. Our Board of Directors is carefully reviewing the proposals received to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. As a result, we have determined to delay further work on the separation in order to avoid incurring potentially unnecessary separation costs while we focus on a potential sale of the consumer business. Refer to “Recent Developments” in MD&A for additional information on the progress of the Separation and Alternative Transaction for the Consumer Business.

SUPPLY CHAIN

We operate a network of distribution centers (“DCs”) and crossdock facilities across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our DCs fulfill customer orders, while crossdocks are smaller flow-through facilities where merchandise is sorted for distribution and shipped to fulfill the inventory needs of our retail locations. Our supply chain operations are also supported by a dedicated fleet of over 900 transportation vehicles. With our network of DCs, crossdocks, and vehicles, we are capable of providing next-day delivery services for approximately 98.5% of the population in the United States.

 

We continue to invest in our supply chain network, focusing on further enhancing our capabilities, increasing efficiency and lowering our costs. For example, we have grown our private fleet of transportation vehicles and introduced automated technology and robotics into our DCs and crossdock facilities. These investments position us to pursue opportunities beyond our traditional business, including utilizing our supply chain as a logistics service for third parties, including our customers.

DC and crossdock facilities’ costs, such as real estate, technology, labor, depreciation and inventory are allocated to the Business Solutions and Retail Divisions based on the relative services provided.

We believe that inventory held in our DCs is at levels sufficient to meet current and anticipated customer needs. Certain purchases are sent directly from the manufacturer, industry wholesaler or other primary supplier to our customers or retail stores. Some supply chain facilities and some retail locations also house sales offices, showrooms, and administrative offices supporting our contract sales channel.

As of December 25, 2021, we operated a total of 67 DCs and crossdock facilities from continuing operations in the United States and Canada. Refer to “Properties” within Other Key Information for more details.

Out-bound delivery and inbound direct import operations are currently provided by third-party carriers along with our own vehicles.

6


 

MERCHANDISING AND SERVICES

Our merchandising and services strategy is to meet our customers’ needs by offering a broad selection of nationally branded office supply and adjacency products, as well as our own private branded products and services. The selection of our private branded products has increased in breadth and level of sophistication over time. We currently offer products under such labels, including Office Depot®, OfficeMax®, Foray®, Ativa®, TUL®, Realspace®, WorkPro®, Brenton Studio®, Highmark®, and Grand & Toy®.

 

We generally classify our offerings into four categories: (1) supplies, (2) technology, (3) furniture and other, and (4) copy and print. The supplies category includes products such as paper, writing instruments, office supplies, cleaning and breakroom supplies, personal protective equipment, and product subscriptions. The technology category includes products such as toner and ink, printers, computers, tablets and accessories electronic storage, and sales of third-party software, as well as technology support services offerings provided in our retail stores. The furniture and other category includes products such as desks, seating, luggage, gift cards, and warranties. The copy and print category includes offerings such as printing of business cards, banners, documents and promotional products, copying and photo services, and managed print and fulfillment services.

Total Company sales by offering were as follows:

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

Major revenue categories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies

 

 

45.1

%

 

 

45.2

%

 

 

49.2

%

Technology

 

 

32.6

%

 

 

34.0

%

 

 

30.9

%

Furniture and other

 

 

15.4

%

 

 

14.4

%

 

 

12.6

%

Copy and print

 

 

6.9

%

 

 

6.4

%

 

 

7.3

%

Total

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

We buy substantially all of our merchandise directly from manufacturers, industry wholesalers, and other primary suppliers, and source our private branded products from domestic and offshore sources. We enter into arrangements with vendors that can lower our unit product costs if certain volume thresholds or other criteria are met. For additional discussion regarding these arrangements, refer to “Critical Accounting Policies” in MD&A.

We operate separate merchandising functions in the United States and Canada. Each function is responsible for selecting, purchasing, managing the product life cycle of our inventory, and managing pricing for all channels. Organizationally, they are aligned under the same Corporate leadership. In recent years, we have increasingly used global offerings across the regions to further reduce our product cost while maintaining product quality.

We operate a global sourcing office in Shenzhen, China, which allows us to better manage our product sourcing, logistics and quality assurance. This office consolidates our purchasing power with Asian factories and, in turn, helps us to increase the scope of our own branded offerings.

SALES AND MARKETING

We regularly assess consumer shopping behaviors in order to refine our strategy and curate the desired product assortment, shopping environment and purchasing methods. Identifying the most desirable and effective way to reach our customers and allowing them to shop through whichever channel they prefer will continue to be a priority. These efforts have impacted the extent, format and vehicles we use to advertise to and reach customers, our web page design, promotions and product offerings.

Our marketing programs are designed to create and capture demand, drive frequency of customer visits, increase customer spend across product lines, and build brand awareness. We have shifted a meaningful amount of our marketing efforts in recent periods to digital programs that increase demand generation, enhance audience targeting and include the use of social media platforms and digital videos. We also continue to advertise through traditional outbound marketing vehicles such as e-mail, direct mail and catalogues.

Our customer loyalty and other incentive programs provide our customers with rewards that can be applied towards future purchases or other incentives. These programs enable us to effectively market to our customers and may change as customer preferences shift.

We perform periodic competitive pricing analyses to monitor each market, and prices are adjusted as necessary to further our competitive positioning. We generally target our pricing to be competitive with other resellers of office products and providers of business services and technology solutions.

7


 

Our customer acquisition efforts regularly shift to vehicles and formats found to be most productive for reaching the targeted customer. We acquire customers through e-mail and social media campaigns, online affiliate connections, on-premises sales calls, outbound sales calls, and catalogs, among others. No single customer accounted for more than 10% of total consolidated sales or receivables in 2021, 2020 or 2019. Additionally, we believe that none of our business segments is dependent upon a single customer or a few customers, the loss of which would have a material adverse effect in our consolidated results of operations.

SEASONALITY

Our business experiences a certain level of seasonality, with sales generally trending lower in the second quarter, following the “back-to-business” sales cycle in the first quarter and preceding the “back-to-school” sales cycle in the third quarter and the holiday sales cycle in the fourth quarter for our Business Solutions and Retail Divisions. Certain working capital components may build and recede during the year reflecting established selling cycles. Business cycles can and have impacted our operations and financial position when compared to other periods. During 2021, the timing and duration of our back-to business and back-to-school sales cycles were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Refer to “COVID-19 Update” in MD&A for additional information.

INDUSTRY AND COMPETITION

We operate in a highly competitive environment. Our Business Solutions and Retail Divisions compete with office supply stores, wholesale clubs, discount stores, mass merchandisers, online retailers, food and drug stores, computer and electronics superstores and direct marketing companies. These companies compete with us in substantially all of our current markets. Increased competition in the office products markets, together with increased advertising, and Internet-based search tools, has heightened price awareness among end-users. Such heightened price awareness has led to sales and margin pressure on our office products categories and has impacted our results. In addition to price, we also compete based on customer service, the quality and extent of product selection and convenience. Other office supply retail companies market similarly to us in terms of store format, pricing strategy, product selection and product availability in the markets where we operate. Although we also compete through our private label offerings, some of our competitors are larger than us and have greater financial resources, which provide them with greater purchasing power, increased financial flexibility and more capital resources for expansion and improvement, which may enable them to compete more effectively. We anticipate that in the future we will continue to face high levels of competition from these companies.

We believe our robust field sales forces, dedicated customer service associates and the efficiency and convenience for our customers from our combined contract and direct sales distribution channels position our Business Solutions Division well to compete with other business-to-business office products distributors.

We believe our Retail Division competes favorably against competitors based on convenience, location, the quality of our customer service, our store layouts, the range and depth of our merchandise offering and our pricing.

ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG)

We believe that ESG issues play an essential role in the success of our Company, our industry and our communities, now and for future generations. We are committed to conducting our business in a sustainable manner and maintain policies and procedures that establish the foundation of our environmental responsibility program. We are committed to empowering our employees and suppliers at all levels to promote safe and environmentally responsible practices. In this regard, we focus on initiatives such as the reduction of facility energy consumption, reduction in transmission emissions in our private fleet, increasing sales of high-quality, sustainable products with greener attributes, improved recycling programs, and minimize the use of harmful chemicals. We utilize a “triple bottom line” approach as the framework for our sustainability initiatives: Planet (environmental), People (social) and Prosperity (economic). While the environmental and social aspects help us lower emissions, capture community impacts, and quantify other metrics, they ultimately impact our success by creating greater business value. Our governance model also includes Board oversight of our Sustainability Program through the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee.

ODP continues to implement environmental programs in line with our stated environmental policy to “buy greener, be greener and sell greener” — including environmental sensitivity in our packaging, operations and sales offerings. Additional information on our green product offerings can be found at www.officedepot.com/buygreen.

We are subject to a variety of environmental laws and regulations related to historical OfficeMax operations of paper and forest products businesses and timberland assets. We record environmental and asbestos liabilities, and accrue losses associated with these obligations, when probable and reasonably estimable. We record a separate insurance recovery receivable when considered probable. Refer to “Legal Proceedings” within Other Key Information for more details.

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WHO MANAGES OUR BUSINESS

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

The following information is provided regarding the executive officers of ODP.

Gerry P. Smith — Age: 58

Mr. Smith was appointed to serve as our Chief Executive Officer and a Director in February 2017. Prior to joining us and since 2016, Mr. Smith was at Lenovo Group Limited (“Lenovo”) and previously served as Lenovo’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2016 where he was responsible for all operations across Lenovo’s global product portfolio. Prior to assuming this role, also in 2016, Mr. Smith was Executive Vice President and President, Data Center Group. From 2015 to 2016, he served as Chief Operating Officer of the Personal Computing Group and Enterprise Business Group, and from 2013 to 2015 he served as President of the Americas. In these roles, Mr. Smith oversaw Lenovo’s fast-growing enterprise business worldwide and Lenovo’s overall business in the America’s region. Prior to that, Mr. Smith was President, North America and Senior Vice President, Global Operations of Lenovo from 2012 to 2013, and Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain of Lenovo from 2006 until 2012 where he was responsible for end-to-end supply chain management. Prior to Lenovo, Mr. Smith held a number of executive positions at Dell Inc. from 1994 until 2006, as the company became a global leader in personal computers. Since August 2020, he serves on the Board of Directors of Arrow Electronics, Inc. and is a member of its Corporate Governance Committee.

N. David Bleisch — Age: 62

Mr. Bleisch was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Legal & Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary in August 2018, and served as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary from September 2017 to August 2018. Prior to joining us, Mr. Bleisch was Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for The ADT Corporation (“ADT”) from September 2012 through May 2016, where he managed the legal, environmental, health and safety, government affairs and corporate governance matters. Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Bleisch served in several leadership roles at Tyco International before being appointed Vice President and General Counsel of Tyco Security Solutions. Before joining Tyco, Mr. Bleisch was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of The LTV Corporation. Before LTV, Mr. Bleisch was a partner with Jackson Walker LLP. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.

John W. Gannfors — Age: 56

Mr. Gannfors was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising and Supply Chain Officer in August 2018. Previously Mr. Gannfors served as Executive Vice President, Transformation, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain from July 2017 to August 2018, and as our Executive Vice President, Transformation and Strategic Sourcing when he joined the Company in April 2017. Prior to joining us, Mr. Gannfors served as Chief Procurement Officer at Lenovo, where he spent nearly ten years. Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Gannfors served in various leadership roles at Dell Inc. Mr. Gannfors began his career in Product Management at Lockheed Martin’s Calcomp division and Definicon Systems.

Terry Leeper — Age: 57

Mr. Leeper was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer in July 2020. Prior to joining us, Mr. Leeper most recently served as Head of Product and Tech of Amazon Business from 2014 to 2020, and previously served as Director of Software Development for Amazon’s Retail Systems Platforms from 2011 to 2014. Prior to joining Amazon in 2011, Mr. Leeper was with Microsoft from 1999 to 2011, where he held positions of Director Platform Strategy in the United Kingdom and Director of Developer Division in China.

Zöe Maloney — Age: 49

Ms. Maloney was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer in November 2021. Ms. Maloney joined us in February 2005 and has more than 25 years of experience in communications, organization and leadership development, and human resources and held several executive management roles including serving as our Senior Vice President, Human Resources from April 2017 to October 2021; Vice President, Human Resources from August 2011 to April 2017; and Senior Director, Communications & Engagement from 2010 to 2011. Prior to joining us, Ms. Maloney served in various management positions at Johnson & Johnson, 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, and CDI International.

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Kevin Moffitt — Age: 48

Mr. Moffitt was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Retail Officer in November 2018. Previously, Mr. Moffitt served as our Senior Vice President, Chief Retail Officer from January 2018 to November 2018; Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer in 2017; Senior Vice President, eCommerce & Direct Business Unit Leader from 2016 to 2017; and as our Vice President, eCommerce Product Management and Customer Experience from 2012 to 2016. Prior to joining us, he held several leadership roles at Dillard’s Department Stores, Circuit City Stores and Putnam Investments.

Stephen M. Mohan — Age: 45

Mr. Mohan was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Business Solutions Division in May 2019. Prior to joining us, Mr. Mohan served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, North American Transportation at XPO Logistics, Inc., a transportation and logistics company, from October 2017 to May 2019. Prior to joining XPO Logistics, Mr. Mohan served as Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at Clean Harbors, an environmental, energy and industrial services company, from October 2016 to February 2017 and Senior Vice President, Field Sales for Republic Services, Inc., a waste collection and energy services company, from December 2013 to September 2016 and as Vice President, Sales from September 2009 to December 2013. His career began in 1999 at Reed Business Information, where he led acquisition and management of a large account portfolio for a leading provider of data and business information solutions.

D. Anthony Scaglione — Age: 49

Mr. Scaglione was appointed to serve as our Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer in July 2020. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Scaglione served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at ABM Industries Incorporated (“ABM”), where he was responsible for all financial, M&A, IT, tax, enterprise services and procurement functions from 2015 to 2020. Mr. Scaglione joined ABM as Vice President & Treasurer in 2009, and was Senior Vice President, Treasurer, Mergers & Acquisitions from 2012 to 2015. Prior to joining ABM, Mr. Scaglione held executive finance positions at CA Technologies from 2005 to 2009. Prior to CA Technologies, Mr. Scaglione served as a manager with Ernst & Young from 2001 to 2005.


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OTHER KEY INFORMATION

RISK FACTORS

In addition to risks and uncertainties in the ordinary course of business that are common to all businesses, important factors that are specific to us and our industry could materially impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and future performance and results. You should carefully consider the risks described below in our subsequent periodic filings with the SEC. The following risk factors should be read in conjunction with MD&A and Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements of this Annual Report.

Risks Related to Our Industry and Macroeconomic Conditions

Our business, results of operations and financial performance have been and will continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which could materially affect our future results.

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to have widespread, rapidly evolving and unpredictable impacts on global society, economies, financial markets and consumer and business spending. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, globally and throughout the United States, federal, state and local authorities have continued to impose varying degrees of restrictions on social and commercial activities, including restrictions on travel, in an effort to prevent and slow the spread of the disease. These preventative measures taken by federal, state and local authorities to contain or mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak have caused, and continue to cause, disruption in the global economy, financial markets and in supply chains both globally and in the United States, which have adversely impacted our business, sales, financial condition and results of operations. Given that businesses still continue remote working arrangements and there is no certainty on return to office full time, this will impact our business and the demand for our products may decline. Furthermore, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily closed certain offices (including our corporate headquarters) and implemented certain business travel restrictions, both of which have changed how we currently operate our business. While we have reopened our corporate headquarters and begun a transition back to working in person, some of our employees continue to work remotely, and an extended period of remote or hybrid work arrangements has and could continue to strain our business continuity plans and introduce operational risk, including but not limited to cybersecurity risks. We are monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of our business, including how it is and will continue to impact our customers, employees, suppliers, vendors, business partners and distribution channels.

We are unable to predict the duration or severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the rollout of multiple vaccines. However, the longer it continues, we will continue experiencing volatility in consumer and business demand and corresponding declining sales patterns. In addition, a weaker U.S. economy, higher unemployment, and continuation of remote work and school arrangements will materially impact consumer spending. Decreased foot traffic at our stores and declining financial performance of or product demand from our business customers has and will continue to adversely impact future sales.

In addition, we have incurred and will continue to incur additional costs to maintain the health of our customers and employees, which may be significant, as we continue to implement additional operational changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has also caused disruption in our supply chain which has resulted in higher supply chain costs to replenish inventory in our retail stores and distribution centers, and increased delivery costs as we shift from less commercial to more residential deliveries. The increased costs in our supply chain are likely to continue. Furthermore, we have experienced restricted product availability in certain categories, and while we have significantly increased our purchases across many categories, including new product categories, we have faced and may continue to face delays or difficulty sourcing certain products. In addition, we may fail to adequately identify certain regulatory requirements for new products which could negatively impact us.

The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts us will depend on numerous evolving factors and future developments that we are not able to predict, including: the severity and duration of the disease; recurrence of the outbreak; the surge of a novel strain of the disease; the possibility of a resulting global or regional economic downturn or recession; governmental, business and other actions, including any future government stimulus programs; the availability, distribution and use of effective treatments and the speed at which effective vaccines will be administrated to a sufficient number of people to help control the spread of the virus; the duration of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders affecting foot traffic in our stores; the extent and duration of the effect on the economy, inflation, consumer confidence and consumer and business spending; the impact on consumers and businesses as forbearance and government support programs end; the continued stress on businesses due to shutdowns, operational changes and staffing issues; the impacts on our supply chain, including impacts to our distribution and logistics providers’ ability to operate or increases in their operating costs, which have and may continue to have an adverse effect on our ability to meet customer demand and has resulted and could continue to result in an increase in our costs of production and distribution, including increased freight and logistics costs and other expenses; disruption to our third-party manufacturing partners and other vendors, including through

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effects of facility closures, reductions in operating hours and work force, and real time changes in operating procedures, including for additional cleaning and disinfection procedures; the impact of the pandemic on economic activity; customer reduction in workforce and furloughs; the extent and duration of the effect on consumer confidence and spending, customer demand and buying patterns including spending on discretionary categories; the effects of additional store closures or other changes to our operations; the health of and the effect on our workforce and our ability to meet staffing needs in our stores, distribution facilities, and other critical functions, particularly members of our work force who have been quarantined as a result of exposure; any impairment in value of our tangible or intangible assets which could be recorded as a result of weaker economic conditions; and the potential effects on our internal controls including those over financial reporting as a result of changes in working environments such as shelter-in-place and similar orders that are applicable to our employees and business partners, among others. In addition, if the pandemic continues to create disruptions or turmoil in the credit or financial markets, it could adversely affect our ability to access capital on favorable terms and continue to meet our liquidity needs, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.

In addition, we cannot predict the impact that COVID-19 will have on our customers, employees, suppliers, vendors, other business partners, and each of their financial conditions; however, any material effect on these parties could adversely impact us. The impact of COVID-19 may also exacerbate other risks discussed in this section, any of which could have a material effect on us. The situation surrounding COVID-19 remains fluid and additional impacts may arise that we are not aware of currently.

Our business is highly competitive and failure to adequately differentiate ourselves or respond to shifting consumer demands could continue to adversely impact our financial performance.

The office products market is highly competitive and we compete locally, domestically and internationally with office supply resellers, including Staples, Internet-based companies such as Amazon.com, mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart and Target, wholesale clubs such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJs, computer and electronics superstores such as Best Buy, food and drug stores, discount stores, and direct marketing companies. Some competitors may offer a broader assortment of products or have more extensive e-commerce channels, while others have substantially greater financial resources to devote to sourcing, marketing and selling their products. The ability of consumers to compare prices on a real-time basis using digital technology puts additional pressure on us to maintain competitive pricing. In addition, consumers are utilizing more technology and purchasing less paper, ink and toner, physical file storage and general office supplies. In order to achieve and maintain expected profitability levels, we must continue to grow by adding new customers and taking market share from competitors. If we are not able to compete effectively, it could negatively affect our business and results of operations.

The retail sector continues to focus on delivery services, with customers increasingly seeking faster, guaranteed delivery times and low-price or free shipping. Our ability to be competitive on delivery times and delivery costs depends on many factors, and our failure to successfully manage these factors and offer competitive delivery options could negatively impact the demand for our products and our profit margins. Because our business strategy is based on offering superior levels of customer service and a full range of services to complement the products we offer, our cost structure might be higher than some of our competitors, and this, in conjunction with price transparency, could put pressure on our margins.

Our quarterly operating results are subject to fluctuation due to the seasonality of our business.

Our business experiences a certain level of seasonality with sales generally trending lower in the second quarter, following the “back-to-business” sales cycle in the first quarter and preceding the “back-to-school” sales cycle in the third quarter and the holiday sales cycle in the fourth quarter. As a result, our operating results have fluctuated from quarter to quarter in the past, with sales and profitability being generally stronger in the second half of our fiscal year than the first half of our fiscal year. Factors that could also cause these quarterly fluctuations include: the pricing behavior of our competitors; the types and mix of products sold; the level of advertising and promotional expenses; severe weather; global pandemic; macroeconomic factors that affect consumer confidence and spending; and the other risk factors described in this section. Most of our operating expenses, such as occupancy costs and associate salaries, are not variable, and so short-term adjustments to reflect quarterly results are difficult. As a result, if sales in certain quarters are significantly below expectations, we may not be able to proportionately reduce operating expenses for that quarter, and therefore such a sales shortfall would have an adverse effect on our net income for the quarter.

Increases in fuel and other commodity prices could have an adverse impact on our earnings.

We operate a large network of retail stores, delivery centers, and delivery vehicles. As such, we purchase significant amounts of fuel needed to transport products to our retail stores and customers as well as shipping costs to import products from overseas. While we may hedge our anticipated fuel purchases, the underlying commodity costs associated with this transport activity is beyond our control and may be volatile. Disruptions in availability of fuel could cause our operating costs to rise significantly to the extent not covered by our hedges and could have a negative impact on our ability to operate our transportation networks. Additionally, other commodity prices, such as paper, may increase and we may not be able to pass along such costs to our customers. Fluctuations in the availability or cost of our energy and other commodity prices could have a material adverse effect on our profitability.

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Increased transportation costs and changes in the relationships with independent shipping companies may have an adverse effect on our business.

We rely upon third party carriers for timely delivery of our product shipments. As a result, we are subject to carrier disruptions and increased costs due to factors that are beyond our control, including employee strikes, inclement weather and increased fuel costs. Any failure to deliver products to our customers in a timely and accurate manner may damage our reputation and brand and may cause us to lose customers. If our relationship with any of these third party carriers is terminated or impaired, or if any of these third parties are unable to ship products for us, we would be required to use alternative, and possibly more expensive, carriers for the shipment of products. We may be unable to engage alternative carriers on a timely basis or on terms favorable to us, if at all, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Changes in shipping terms, or the inability of these third party shippers to perform effectively (whether as a result of mechanical failure, casualty loss, labor stoppage, or any other reason), may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Additionally, deterioration of the financial condition of these third-party carriers may have an adverse effect on our shipping costs. Any future increases in shipping rates may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, particularly if we are unable to pass on these higher costs to our customers.

Macroeconomic conditions have had and may continue to adversely affect our business and financial performance.

Our operating results and performance depend significantly on economic conditions and their impact on business and consumer spending. In the past, the decline in business and consumer spending has caused our comparable retail store sales to decline from prior periods. The global macroeconomic outlook continues to remain uncertain due to a variety of factors, including the Omicron variant, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and inflation, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may continue even after the outbreak has subsided and containment measures are lifted, all of which may continue to exacerbate many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section, any of which could have a material effect on us. Our business and financial performance may continue to be adversely affected by current and future economic conditions, including, without limitation, the level of consumer debt, high levels of unemployment, higher interest rates and the ability of our customers to obtain credit, which may cause a continued or further decline in business and consumer spending.

Catastrophic events could adversely affect our operating results.

The risk or actual occurrence of one or more catastrophic events could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance. Such events may be caused by, for example:

 

natural disasters or extreme weather events such as climate change, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes;

 

diseases, epidemics or pandemics (such as the ongoing COVID-19) that may affect our employees, customers or partners;

 

floods, fire or other catastrophes affecting our properties;

 

terrorism, civil unrest or other conflicts; or

 

extended power outages.

As noted above, the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may continue to have, a material adverse impact on our business and results of operations. Such catastrophic events could result in physical damage to, or complete loss of, one or more of our properties, the closure of one of more stores, the lack of an adequate work force in the market, changes in the purchasing patterns of consumers (including the frequency of visits by consumers to physical retail locations, whether as a result of limitations on large gatherings, travel and movement limitations or otherwise) and in consumers’ disposable income, the temporary or long-term disruption in the supply of products from some suppliers, the disruption in the transport of goods from overseas, the disruption or delay in the delivery of goods to our distribution and fulfillment centers or stores within the country, the reduction in the availability of products in our stores and can disrupt or disable portions of our supply chain and distribution network. They can also affect our information systems, resulting in disruption to various aspects of our operations, including our ability to transact with customers and fulfill orders.

Furthermore, the long-term impacts of climate change, whether involving physical risks (such as extreme weather conditions) or transition risks (such as regulatory or technology changes) are expected to be widespread and unpredictable. These changes over time could affect, for example, the availability and cost of certain consumer products, commodities and energy (including utilities), which in turn may impact our ability to manufacture or procure certain goods required for the operation of our business at the quantities and levels we require. As a consequence of these or other catastrophic events, we may endure interruption to our operations or losses of property, equipment or inventory, which would adversely affect our revenue and profitability. For example, hurricanes can disrupt operations in the southeastern United States where a heavy concentration of our customers are located, and negatively impact sales in both our Business Solutions and Retail Divisions.

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Risks Related to our Business and Operations

Our proposed spin-off of Office Depot may not be completed on the currently contemplated timeline or at all and may not achieve the intended benefits.

 

We previously announced our intent to separate our consumer business, Office Depot, into an independent, publicly traded company during the first half of 2022. The spin-off is subject to certain conditions, including final approval by our board of directors, receipt of customary assurances regarding the intended tax-free nature of the transaction and the filing and effectiveness of a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Unanticipated developments, including possible delays in obtaining various regulatory approvals or clearances, uncertainty of the financial markets and challenges in establishing infrastructure or processes, could delay or prevent the proposed spin-off or cause the proposed spin-off to occur on terms or conditions that are less favorable or different than expected. Even if the spin-off is completed, we may not realize some or all of the anticipated benefits from the spin-off. Expenses incurred to accomplish the proposed spin-off may be significantly higher than what we currently anticipate. Executing the proposed spin-off also requires significant time and attention from management, which could distract them from other tasks in operating our business. Following the proposed spin-off, the combined value of the common stock of the two publicly traded companies may not be equal to or greater than what the value of our common stock would have been had the proposed spin-off not occurred. If the proposed spin-off is completed, our diversification of revenue sources will diminish due to the separation of the consumer business, and it is possible that our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be subject to increased volatility as a result. In January 2022, we announced that the Board of Directors determined to delay the public company separation to evaluate a potential sale of the Company’s consumer business.  

 

We may not be successful in negotiating and consummating a strategic transaction involving our consumer business on favorable terms, or at all.

In November 2021, USR Parent, Inc., the parent company of Staples and a portfolio company of Sycamore Partners, reaffirmed its non-binding proposal to acquire the Company’s consumer business, including the Office Depot and OfficeMax retail stores business, the Company’s direct channel business (officedepot.com), and the Office Depot and OfficeMax intellectual property, including all brand names, for $1 billion in cash. In December 2021, the Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal from another third party to acquire the Company’s consumer business. The terms of that proposal are confidential. Either of these transactions present substantial risk including:

 

the risk that we are unable to obtain the necessary regulatory or governmental approvals to close a transaction;

 

we may not receive approvals granted on terms that are acceptable to us;

 

we may be unable to complete the sale on terms favorable to us; and

 

adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers and customers.

Any of these factors could adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations.

Our focus on services exposes us to certain risks that could have a material adverse impact on our revenue and profitability as well as our reputation.

Our transformation into a more business services-driven platform that delivers a full range of services complements our product offerings, including consultation, design, delivery, installation, set-up, protection plans, repair, and technical support. These services can differentiate us from many of our competitors and provide an opportunity to deliver superior customer service while generating additional revenue and profit. However, designing, marketing and executing these services successfully and consistently is subject to risks. These risks include, for example:

 

increased labor expense to fulfill our customer promises, which may be higher than the related revenue;

 

unpredictable failure rates and related expenses;

 

employees in transit using company vehicles to deliver products or services to customers; these factors may increase our scope of liability related to our employees’ actions; and

 

employees having access to customer devices, including the information held on those devices, which may increase our responsibility for the security of those devices and the data they hold.

As customers increasingly migrate to websites and mobile applications to initiate transactions, it is inherently more difficult to demonstrate and explain the features and benefits of our service offerings, which can lead to a lower revenue mix of these services. Our ability to compete successfully depends on our ability to ensure a continuing and timely introduction of innovative new products,

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services and technologies to the marketplace. If we are unable to pivot into a more business services-driven platform and sell innovative new products, our ability to gain a competitive advantage could be adversely affected.

These expanded risks increase the complexity of our business and places significant responsibility on our management, employees, operations, systems, technical expertise, financial resources, and internal financial and regulatory control and reporting functions. In addition, new initiatives we test through trials and pilots may not scale or grow effectively or as we expected, which could limit our growth and negatively affect our operating results. They may also involve significant laws or regulations that are beyond our current expertise.

If we are unable to successfully refine and execute our business strategies, our operating performance could be significantly impacted.

Our ability to both refine our operating and strategic plans and execute the business activities associated with our refined plans, including cost savings initiatives, could impact our ability to meet our operating performance targets.

Our business strategy also includes making acquisitions and investments that complement our existing business as well as strategic divestitures to maximize value. These acquisitions and investments or divestitures could be unsuccessful or consume significant resources, which could adversely affect our operating results.

Our ability to achieve the benefits we anticipate from acquisitions we make will depend in large part upon whether we are able to leverage the capabilities of the acquired companies to grow revenue across our combined organization, manage the acquired company’s business, execute our strategy in an efficient and effective manner and realize anticipated cost synergies. In addition, private companies recently acquired which were previously not subject to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), may lack certain internal controls, which could ultimately affect our ability to ensure compliance with the requirements of SOX.

Because our business and the business of acquired companies may differ operationally, we may not be able to effectively manage or oversee the operations of the acquired company’s business smoothly or successfully and the process of achieving expected revenue growth and cost synergies may take longer than expected. If we are unable to successfully manage the operations of the acquired company’s business, we may be unable to realize the revenue growth, cost synergies and other anticipated benefits we expect to achieve as a result of the acquisition.

While our business strategy may contemplate divestitures of certain business units, we may not be able to complete these divestitures on terms favorable to us, on a timely basis, or at all. Furthermore, desired or proposed divestitures of business units may not meet all of our strategic objectives or our growth or profitability targets. Our divestiture activities, or related activities such as reorganizations, restructuring programs and transformation initiatives, may require us to recognize impairment charges or to take action to reduce costs that remain after we complete a divestiture. Gains or losses on the sales of, or lost operating income from those businesses may also affect our profitability.

We have retained responsibility for liabilities of acquired companies that may adversely affect our financial results.

OfficeMax sponsors defined benefit pension plans covering certain terminated employees, vested employees, retirees, and some active employees (the “Pension Plans”). The Pension Plans are frozen and do not allow new entrants; however, they are under-funded and we may be required to make contributions in subsequent years in order to maintain required funding levels. Required future contributions could have an adverse impact on our cash flows and our financial results. Additional future contributions to the Pension Plans, financial market performance and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) funding requirements could materially change these expected payments.

As part of the sale of our business in Europe, we have retained responsibility for the defined benefit plan covering certain employees in the United Kingdom. While the plan was in a net asset position at the end of 2020, changes in assumptions and actual experience could result in that plan being considered underfunded in the future. Additionally, we have agreed to make contributions to the plan as required by the trustees. Financial performance of the plan and future valuation assumptions could materially change the expected payments. In addition, as part of the sale transaction, the purchaser shall indemnify and hold us harmless in connection with any guarantees in place as of September 23, 2016, and given by us in respect of the liabilities or obligations of the European business. Further, if the purchaser wishes to terminate any such guarantee or cease to comply with any underlying obligation which is subject to such a guarantee, the purchaser shall obtain an unconditional and irrevocable release of the guarantee. However, we are contingently liable in the event of a breach by the purchaser of any such obligation.

In connection with OfficeMax’s sale of its paper, forest products and timberland assets in 2004, OfficeMax agreed to assume responsibility for certain liabilities of the businesses sold. These obligations include liabilities related to environmental, asbestos, health and safety, tax, litigation and employee benefit matters. Some of these retained liabilities could turn out to be significant, which

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could have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Our exposure to these liabilities could harm our ability to compete with other office products distributors who would not typically be subject to similar liabilities.

If we are unable to successfully maintain a relevant experience for our customers, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

With the increasing use of digital technology to shop in our retail stores and online, we rely on our omni-channel capabilities to provide a seamless shopping experience to our customers and to keep pace with new developments by our competitors. If we are unable to attract and retain team members or contract third parties with the specialized skills needed to support our omni-channel platforms or are unable to implement improvements to our customer-facing technology in a timely manner, our ability to compete and our results of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, if our website and our other customer-facing technology systems do not function as designed, the customer experience could be negatively affected, resulting in a reduction of the amount of traffic in our stores, a loss of customer confidence and satisfaction, and lost sales, which could adversely affect our reputation and results of operations.

Moreover, changes in customer preferences have reduced, and may continue to reduce, demand for our products and services in certain markets. If we fail to manage changes in our relationships with our long-term customers, it may have an adverse effect on our financial results.

Many end markets are experiencing changes due to technological progress, an evolving workplace and changes in customer preferences. In order to grow and remain competitive, we will need to continue to adapt to future changes in technology, enhance our existing offerings and introduce new offerings to address the changing demands of customers. If we are unable to continue to utilize new and existing technologies to adapt to new distribution methods and address changing customer preferences, our business may be adversely affected.

Technological developments and changing demands of customers may require additional investment in new equipment and technologies. We must monitor changes in markets and develop new solutions to meet customers’ needs, otherwise we may not be able to keep or grow our customer base. The development of such solutions may be costly and there is no assurance that these solutions will be accepted by our customers. If we are unable to adapt to technological changes on a timely basis or at an acceptable cost, customers’ demand for our products and services may be adversely affected.

There can be no assurance that our customers will continue to purchase our products in the same mix or quantities or on the same terms as in the past. The loss of or disruptions related to customers may result in a reduction in sales or change in the mix of products we sell to our customers. This may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Additionally, disputes with significant suppliers, including those related to pricing or performance, may adversely affect our ability to supply products to our customers and also our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

We have incurred significant impairment charges and we continue to incur impairment charges.

We regularly assess past performance and make estimates and projections of future performance at an individual store and reporting unit level. Reduced sales, our shift in strategy to be less price promotional, as well as competitive factors and changes in consumer spending habits resulted in a downward adjustment of anticipated future cash flows for the individual retail stores that resulted in the impairment. We continue to foresee challenges in the market and economy that could adversely impact our operations. To the extent that forward-looking sales and operating assumptions are not achieved and are subsequently reduced, or if we implement the more aggressive store downsizing strategy contemplated by our Maximize B2B Restructuring, including allocating capital to further modify store formats, additional impairment charges may result. We have also recognized impairment charges on retail store related assets, including operating lease right-of-use (“ROU”) assets, that were deemed unrecoverable based on the Comprehensive Business Review and the Business Acceleration Program. Additional asset impairments may be recognized based on future decisions and conditions.

Changes in the numerous variables associated with the judgments, assumptions and estimates we make, in assessing the appropriate valuation of our goodwill and other intangible assets of our reporting units, including changes resulting from macroeconomic, or disposition of components within reporting units, could in the future require a reduction of goodwill and recognition of related non-cash impairment charges. If we were required to further impair our store assets, our goodwill or intangible assets of our reporting units, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

In addition, if we experience a decline in our market capitalization in the future, and if the decline becomes sustained or future declines in macroeconomic factors or business conditions occur, we could incur impairment charges in future periods.

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Our failure to effectively manage our real estate portfolio may negatively impact our operating results.

Effective management of our real estate portfolio is critical to our omni-channel strategy. Most of our properties are subject to long-term leases. As such, it is essential that we effectively evaluate a range of factors that may influence the success of our long-term real estate strategy. Such factors include but are not limited to:

 

changing patterns of customer consumption and behavior, particularly in light of an evolving omni-channel environment;

 

the appropriate number of retail stores in our portfolio;

 

the formats and sizes of our retail stores;

 

the locations of our retail stores;

 

the interior layouts of our retail stores;

 

the trade area demographics and economic data of each of our retail stores;

 

the local competitive positioning in and around our retail stores;

 

the primary term lease commitment for each retail store;

 

the long-term lease option coverage for each retail store;

 

the occupancy cost of our retail stores relative to market rents;

 

our supply chain network strategy; and

 

our ongoing network of service locations.

The consequences for failure to effectively evaluate these factors or negotiate appropriate terms or anticipate changes could include:

 

having to close retail stores and abandon the related assets, while retaining the financial commitments of the leases;

 

incurring significant costs to remodel or transform our retail stores;

 

having retail stores, supply chain or service locations that no longer meet the needs of our business; and

 

bearing excessive lease expenses.

These consequences could have a materially adverse impact on our profitability, cash flows and liquidity.

For leased property, the financial impact of exiting a location varies greatly depending on, among other factors, the terms of the lease, the condition of the local real estate market, demand for the specific property, our relationship with the landlord and the availability of potential sub-lease tenants. It is difficult for us to influence some of these factors, and the costs of exiting a property can be significant. In addition to rent, we are still responsible for the maintenance, taxes, insurance and common area maintenance charges for vacant properties until the lease commitment expires or is terminated. Similarly, when we enter into a contract with a tenant to sub-lease property, we usually retain our obligations as the master lessor. This leaves us at risk for any remaining liability in the event of default by the sub-lease tenant.

We do a significant amount of business with government entities, various purchasing consortiums, and through sole- or limited- source distribution arrangements, and loss of this business could negatively impact our results.

One of our largest customer groups consists of various governmental entities, government agencies and non-profit organizations, such as purchasing consortiums. Contracting with U.S. state and local governments is highly competitive, subject to federal and state procurement laws, requires more restrictive contract terms and can be expensive and time-consuming. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal sanctions, the inability to participate in existing or future government contracting and other administrative sanctions. Any such penalties could result in damage to the Company's reputation, increased costs of compliance and/or remediation and could adversely affect the Company's financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, bidding on government contracts often requires that we incur significant upfront time and expense without any assurance that we will win a contract. Our ability to compete successfully for and retain business with federal, state and local governments is highly dependent on cost-effective performance. Our business with governmental entities and agencies is also sensitive to changes in national and international priorities and their respective budgets, which in the current economy continue to decrease.

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We also service a substantial amount of business through agreements with purchasing consortiums and other sole- or limited-source distribution arrangements. If we are unsuccessful in retaining these customers, or if there is a significant reduction in sales under any of these arrangements, it could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

Failure to attract and retain qualified personnel could have an adverse impact on our business.

Our performance is highly dependent on attracting, retaining and engaging appropriately qualified employees in our retail stores, service centers, distribution centers, field and corporate offices. The market for qualified employees, with the right talent and competencies, is highly competitive. Factors that affect our ability to maintain sufficient numbers of qualified employees include employee morale, our reputation, unemployment rates, competition from other employers, availability of qualified personnel and our ability to offer appropriate compensation and benefits packages. We operate in a competitive labor market and there is a risk that market increases in compensation and benefits costs could have a material adverse effect on our profitability. Failure to recruit or retain qualified employees, and the inability to keep our supply of skills and resources in balance with customer demand, may impair our efficiency and effectiveness, our ability to pursue growth opportunities and adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, a significant amount of turnover of our executive team or other employees in key positions with specific knowledge relating to us, our operations and our industry, may negatively impact our operations.

We depend on our executive management team and other key personnel, and the inability to recruit and retain certain personnel could adversely affect our performance and result in the loss of management continuity and institutional knowledge.

Although certain members of our executive team have entered into agreements relating to their employment with us, most of our key personnel are not bound by employment agreements, and those with employment or retention agreements are bound only for a limited period of time. If we are unable to retain our key personnel, we may be unable to successfully develop and implement our business plans, which may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Failure to maintain our reputation and brand at a high level, may adversely impact our financial performance.

Effective marketing efforts play a crucial role in maintaining our reputation to attract new customers and retain existing customers. Failure to execute effective marketing efforts or misjudgment of consumer responses to our existing or future promotional activities, may adversely impact our financial performance.

Failure to detect, prevent, or mitigate issues that might give rise to reputational risk or failure to adequately address negative publicity or perceptions could adversely impact our reputation, business, results of operations, and financial condition. Issues that might pose a reputational risk include an inability to achieve our omni-channel goals, including providing an e-commerce and delivery experience that meets the expectations of consumers; failure of our cyber-security measures to protect against data breaches; product liability and product recalls; our social media activity; failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations; and any of the other risks enumerated in these risk factors. In addition, information concerning us, whether or not true, may be instantly and easily posted on social media platforms at any time, which information may be adverse to our reputation or brand. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. If our reputation or brand is damaged, our customers may refuse to continue shopping with us, potential employees may be unwilling to work for us, business partners may be discouraged from seeking future business dealings with us and, as a result, our operations and financial results may suffer.

Our exclusive brand products are subject to several additional product, supply chain and legal risks that could affect our operating results.

In recent years, we have substantially increased the number and types of products that we sell under our own brands including Office Depot®, OfficeMax® and other proprietary brands. While we have focused on the quality of our proprietary branded products, we rely on third parties to manufacture these products. Such third-party manufacturers may prove to be unreliable, the quality of our globally sourced products may vary from our expectations and standards, such products may not meet applicable regulatory requirements which may require us to recall those products, or such products may infringe upon the intellectual property rights of third parties. Moreover, as we seek indemnities from the manufacturers of these products, the uncertainty of realization of any such indemnity and the lack of understanding of U.S. product liability laws in certain foreign jurisdictions make it more likely that we may have to respond to claims or complaints from our customers.

Our business may be adversely affected by the actions of and risks related to the activities of our third-party vendors.

We purchase products for resale under credit arrangements with our vendors and have been able to negotiate payment terms that are approximately equal in length to the time it takes to sell the vendor’s products. When the global economy is experiencing weakness as it has in the past, vendors may seek credit insurance to protect against non-payment of amounts due to them. If we experience declining operating performance and severe liquidity challenges, vendors may demand that we accelerate our payment for their products or require cash on delivery, which could have an adverse impact on our operating cash flow and result in severe stress on our

18


 

liquidity. Borrowings under our existing credit facility could reach maximum levels under such circumstances, causing us to seek alternative liquidity measures, but we may not be able to meet our obligations as they become due until we secure such alternative measures.

We use and resell many manufacturers’ branded items and services. We rely on key vendors who may have a large market share of the categories of products and services that we resell in order to provide best in class solutions to our customers. As a result, we are dependent on the availability and pricing of key products and services, including but not limited to ink, toner, paper and technology products and key vendors could change their business strategies or models and no longer offer products or services of value to our customers. As a reseller, we cannot control the supply, design, function, cost or vendor-required conditions of sale of many of the products we offer for sale. Disruptions in the availability of these products or the products and services we provide to our customers coupled with our inability to quickly pivot and find new products and services to our portfolio of offerings may adversely affect our sales and result in customer dissatisfaction. Further, we cannot control the cost of manufacturers’ products, and cost increases must either be passed along to our customers or will result in erosion of our earnings.

Failure to identify desirable products and make them available to our customers when desired and at attractive prices could have an adverse effect on our business and our results of operations. In addition, a material interruption in service by the carriers that ship goods within our supply chain may adversely affect our sales. Many of our vendors are small or medium-sized businesses which are impacted by current macroeconomic conditions, both in the U.S., Asia and other locations. We may have no warning before a vendor fails, which may have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We also engage key third-party business partners to support various functions of our business, including but not limited to, information technology, web hosting and cloud-based services, human resource operations, customer loyalty programs, gift cards, customer warranty, delivery and installation, technical support, transportation and insurance programs. Any material disruption in our relationship with key third-party business partners or any disruption in the services or systems provided or managed by third parties could impact our revenues and cost structure and hinder our operations, particularly if a disruption occurs during peak revenue periods.

Product safety and quality concerns could have a material adverse impact on our revenue and profitability.

If the products we sell fail to meet applicable safety standards or our customers’ expectations regarding safety and quality, we could be exposed to increased legal risk and our reputation may be damaged. Failure to take appropriate actions in relation to product recalls could lead to breaches in laws and regulations and leave us susceptible to government enforcement actions or private litigation. Recalls of products, particularly when combined with lack of available alternatives or our difficulty in sourcing sufficient volumes of replacement products, could also have a material adverse impact on our revenue and profitability.

Disruption of global sourcing activities, evolving foreign trade policy (including tariffs imposed on certain foreign made goods) could negatively impact the cost and availability of our products.

Economic and civil unrest in areas of the world where we source products, as well as shipping and dockage issues, could adversely impact the availability or cost of our products, or both. Most of our goods imported to the U.S. arrive from Asia through ports located on the U.S. west coast and we are therefore subject to potential disruption due to labor unrest, security issues or natural disasters affecting any or all of these ports. In addition, we purchase and source products from a wide variety of suppliers, including from suppliers overseas, particularly in China where we maintain a global sourcing office to facilitate product sourcing. Diplomatic tensions, between China and the US, and developments in Hong Kong and Taiwan, alongside other potential areas of tension, may affect us by creating regulatory, reputational and market risks. For example, the U.S. government has imposed various sanctions and trade restrictions on Chinese persons and companies, and the US continues to advance the development of its framework for strategic competition with China. In response to foreign sanctions and trade restrictions, China has announced a number of sanctions, trade restrictions and laws that could impact us. Such sanctions and trade restrictions target or provide authority to target foreign individuals and companies, and have been primarily imposed against certain public officials associated with the implementation of foreign sanctions against China. The new laws provide a legal framework for further imposing such sanctions, prohibit implementing or complying with foreign sanctions against China and create private rights of action in Chinese courts for damages caused by third parties implementing foreign sanctions or other discriminatory measures. These and any future measures and countermeasures that may be taken by the US, China may increase our cost of goods sold or reduce the supply of the products available to us. There is no assurance that any such increased costs could be passed on to our customers, or that we could find alternative products from other sources at comparable prices. To the extent that we are subject to more challenging regulatory environments and enhanced legal and regulatory requirements, such exposure could have a material adverse effect on our business, including the added cost of increased compliance measures that we may determine to be necessary.

In light of the trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which began escalating since 2018, we have incurred incremental costs related to trade tariffs on inventory we purchase from China, but such costs have not had a material impact on our results of operations. We continue to monitor and evaluate the potential impact of the effective and proposed tariffs as well as other recent

19


 

changes in foreign trade policy on our supply chain, costs, sales and profitability and have implemented strategies to mitigate such impact, including changes to our contracting model, alternative sourcing strategies and selective price increase pass-through efforts. If any of these events continue as described, they could disrupt the movement of products through our supply chain or increase their cost. In addition, while we may be able to shift our sourcing options, executing such a shift would be time consuming and would be difficult or impracticable for many products and may result in an increase in our manufacturing costs. Substantial regulatory uncertainty exists regarding foreign trade and trade policy, both in the United States and abroad. The adoption and expansion of trade restrictions, retaliatory tariffs, or other governmental action related to tariffs or international trade agreements or policies has the potential to adversely impact demand for our products, our costs, our customers, our suppliers, and/or the U.S. economy, which in turn could adversely impact our results of operations and business.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Liquidity

Covenants in our credit facility could adversely impact our operations.

Our asset-based credit facility contains a fixed charge coverage ratio covenant that is operative only when borrowing availability is below 10% of the Borrowing Base (as defined in Note 11. “Debt” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements) or prior to a restricted transaction, such as incurring additional indebtedness, acquisitions, dispositions, dividends, or share repurchases if we do not have the required liquidity. The agreement governing our credit facility (the “Third Amended Credit Agreement” as defined in Note 11. “Debt” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements) also contains representations, warranties, affirmative and negative covenants, and default provisions. A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under our Third Amended Credit Agreement. Upon the occurrence of an event of default under our Third Amended Credit Agreement, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit. If the lenders were to accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we may not have sufficient assets to repay our asset-based credit facility and our other indebtedness. Also, should there be an event of default, or a need to obtain waivers following an event of default, we may be subject to higher borrowing costs and/or more restrictive covenants in future periods. Acceleration of our obligations under our credit facilities would permit the holders of our other material debt to accelerate their obligations. We were in compliance with all applicable covenants as of December 25, 2021.

Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Compliance

We are subject to legal proceedings and legal compliance risks.

We are involved in various legal proceedings, which from time to time may involve class action lawsuits, state and federal governmental inquiries, audits and investigations, environmental matters, employment, tort, state false claims act, consumer litigation and intellectual property litigation. At times, such matters may involve directors and/or executive officers. Certain of these legal proceedings, including government investigations, may be a significant distraction to management and could expose our Company to significant liability, including settlement expenses, damages, fines, penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs, and non-monetary sanctions, including suspensions and debarments from doing business with certain government agencies, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. For a description of our legal proceedings, refer to Note 17. “Commitments and Contingencies” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Changes in tax laws in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate can cause fluctuations in our overall tax rate impacting our reported earnings.

Our tax rate is derived from a combination of applicable tax rates in the various domestic and international jurisdictions in which we operate. While we have disposed of the majority of our international businesses, we remain subject to international taxes as part of our existing operations. Depending upon the sources of our income, any agreements we may have with taxing authorities in various jurisdictions, and the tax filing positions we take in these jurisdictions, our overall tax rate may fluctuate significantly from other companies or even our own past tax rates. In addition, changes in applicable U.S. or foreign tax laws and regulations, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or their interpretation and application, including the possibility of retroactive effect, could affect our tax expense and profitability. At any given point in time, we base our estimate of an annual effective tax rate upon a calculated mix of the tax rates applicable to us and to estimates of the amount of income likely to be generated in any given geography. The loss of or modification to one or more agreements with taxing jurisdictions, whether as a result of a third party challenge, negotiation, or otherwise, a change in the mix of our business from year to year and from country to country, changes in rules related to accounting for income taxes, changes in tax laws in any of the multiple jurisdictions in which we operate, changes in valuation allowances, or adverse outcomes from the tax audits that regularly are in process in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate could result in substantial volatility, including an unfavorable change in our overall tax rate and/or our effective tax rate.

 

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Increases in wage and benefit costs, changes in laws and other labor regulations could impact our financial results and cash flow.

Our expenses relating to employee labor, including employee health benefits, are significant. Our ability to control our employee and related labor costs is generally subject to numerous external factors, including prevailing wage rates, legislative and private sector initiatives regarding healthcare reform, and adoption of new or revised employment and labor laws and regulations. Recently, various legislative movements have sought to increase the federal minimum wage in the United States and the minimum wage in a number of individual states, some of which have been successful at the state level. As federal or state minimum wage rates increase, we may need to increase not only the wage rates of our minimum wage employees, but also the wages paid to our other employees as well. Further, should we fail to increase our wages competitively in response to increasing wage rates, the quality of our workforce could decline, causing our customer service to suffer. Any increase in the cost of our labor could have an adverse effect on our operating costs, financial condition and results of operations. We have a large employee base and while our management believes that our employee relations are good, we cannot be assured that we will not experience organization efforts from labor unions. The potential for unionization could increase if federal legislation is passed that would facilitate labor organization. Significant union representation would require us to negotiate wages, salaries, benefits and other terms with many of our employees collectively and could adversely affect our results of operations by significantly increasing our labor costs or otherwise restricting our ability to maximize the efficiency of our operations.

We also have employees in Canada, Mexico, India, Costa Rica and Asia and are required to comply with laws and regulations in those countries that may differ substantially from country to country, requiring significant management attention and cost.

Changes in the regulatory environment and violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar worldwide anti-bribery laws may negatively impact our business.

We are subject to regulations relating to our corporate conduct and the conduct of our business, including securities laws, consumer protection laws, hazardous material regulations, trade regulations, advertising regulations, privacy and cybersecurity laws, and wage and hour regulations and anti-corruption legislation. Certain jurisdictions have taken a particularly aggressive stance with respect to such matters and have implemented new initiatives and reforms, including more stringent regulations, disclosure and compliance requirements.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and similar anti-bribery laws in other jurisdictions generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Recent years have seen a substantial increase in anti-bribery law enforcement activity with more frequent and aggressive investigations and enforcement proceedings by both the Department of Justice and the SEC, increased enforcement activity by non-U.S. regulators and increases in criminal and civil proceedings brought against companies and individuals. Our policies mandate compliance with all anti-bribery laws. However, we operate in certain countries that are recognized as having governmental and commercial corruption. Our internal control policies and procedures may not always protect us from reckless or criminal acts committed by our employees or third-party intermediaries. Violations of these anti-bribery laws may result in criminal or civil sanctions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Risks Related to Information Technology and Information Security

Disruptions of our computer systems could adversely affect our operations.

We rely heavily on computer systems to process transactions, including delivery of technology services, manage our inventory and supply-chain and to summarize and analyze our global business. Various components of our information technology and computer systems, including hardware, networks, and software, are licensed to us and hosted by third party vendors.  

Our systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, cyber-attack or other security breaches, catastrophic events such as fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, acts of war or terrorism, and usage errors by our employees. We carry insurance, including cyber insurance, which we believe to be commensurate with our size and the nature of our operations and expect that a portion of these costs may be covered by insurance.

If our computer systems are damaged or cease to function properly in the future, or, if we do not replace or upgrade certain systems, we may incur substantial costs to repair or replace them and may experience an interruption of our normal business activities or loss of critical data.

We maintain and periodically upgrade many of these systems that increase productivity and efficiency. If these systems are not properly maintained or enhanced, the attention of our workforce could be diverted and our ability to provide the level of service our customers demand could be constrained for some time. Failure to make such investments could limit our ability to compete against our peers that are investing in these areas. Further, new systems might not properly integrate with existing systems. Also, once

21


 

implemented, the new systems and technology may not provide the intended efficiencies or anticipated benefits and could add costs and complications to our ongoing operations.

A breach of our information technology systems could adversely affect our reputation, business partner and customer relationships and operations and result in high costs.

Through our sales, marketing activities, and use of third-party information, we collect and store certain personally identifiable information that our customers provide to purchase products or services, enroll in promotional programs, register on our website, or otherwise communicate and interact with us. This may include, but is not limited to, names, addresses, phone numbers, driver license numbers, e-mail addresses, contact preferences, personally identifiable information stored on electronic devices, and payment account information, including credit and debit card information. We also gather and retain information about our employees in the normal course of business. We may share information about such persons with vendors that assist with certain aspects of our business. In addition, our online operations depend upon the secure transmission of confidential information over public networks, such as information permitting cashless payments.

We have instituted safeguards for the protection of such information and invested considerable resources, including insurance to cover cyber liabilities, in protecting our systems. These security measures may be compromised as a result of third-party security breaches, burglaries, cyber-attack, errors by our employees or the employees of third-party vendors, faulty password management, misappropriation of data by employees, vendors or unaffiliated third parties, or other irregularity, and result in persons obtaining unauthorized access to our data or accounts.

Despite instituted safeguards for the protection of such information, we cannot be certain that all of our systems and those of our vendors and unaffiliated third parties are entirely free from vulnerability to attack or compromise given that the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently.

We have experienced and we expect to continue to experience attempts to breach our systems, none of which has been material to the Company as a whole to date, and we may be unable to protect sensitive data and the integrity of our systems or to prevent fraudulent purchases.

We are also subject to data privacy and security laws and regulations, the number and complexity of which are increasing globally, and despite reasonable efforts to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that we will not be the subject of enforcement or other legal actions in the event of an incident. Moreover, an alleged or actual security breach that affects our systems or results in the unauthorized release of personally identifiable information could:

 

materially damage our reputation and brand, negatively affect customer satisfaction and loyalty, expose us to negative publicity, individual claims or consumer class actions, administrative, civil or criminal investigations or actions, and infringe on proprietary information; and

 

cause us to incur substantial costs, including but not limited to costs associated with remediation for stolen assets or information, payments of customer incentives for the maintenance of business relationships after an attack, litigation costs, lost revenues resulting from unauthorized use of proprietary information or the failure to retain or attract customers following an attack, and increased cyber security protection costs. While we maintain insurance coverage that may, subject to policy terms and conditions, cover certain aspects of our cyber risks, such insurance coverage may be unavailable or insufficient to cover our losses or all types of claims that may arise in the continually evolving area of cyber risk.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Securities

There can be no assurance that we will resume paying cash dividends.

Decisions regarding dividends depend on a number of factors, including general business and economic conditions, our financial condition, operating results and restrictions imposed by our debt agreements, the emergence of alternative investment or acquisition opportunities, changes in business strategy and other factors. Decisions on dividends are within the discretion of the Board of Directors. In order to preserve liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic and in light of the uncertainties as to its duration and economic impact, in May 2020, our Board of Directors suspended the Company’s quarterly cash dividend beginning in the second quarter of 2020. Our quarterly cash dividend remains suspended. Changes in or the elimination of dividends could have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock.

 

 

 

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Our common stock price has been and may continue to be subject to volatility, and shareholders could incur substantial losses of any investment in our common stock.

 

Our common stock price has experienced volatility over time and this volatility may continue, in part due to factors mentioned in this Item 1A or due to other market-driven events beyond our control. As a result of these and other factors, investors in our common stock may not be able to resell their shares at or above their original purchase price.

Our amended and restated bylaws designate the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (the “Chancery Court”), or, if the Chancery Court does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the district of Delaware or other state courts located in the State of Delaware, as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our shareholders, which could discourage lawsuits against us and our directors and officers.

Pursuant to our amended and restated bylaws, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Chancery Court (or, if the Chancery Court does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware or other state courts of the State of Delaware) is the sole and exclusive forum for any shareholder (including a beneficial owner) to bring: (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees to us or our shareholders, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws, or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine, except as to each of (1) through (4) above, for any claim as to which the Court of Chancery determines that there is an indispensable party not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery (and the indispensable party does not consent to the personal jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery within ten days following such determination). This forum selection provision may limit the ability of our shareholders to bring a claim in a judicial forum that such shareholders find favorable for disputes with us or our directors or officers, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors and officers.

Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. As a result, the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. In addition, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. As a result, the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or any other claim for which the federal and state courts have concurrent jurisdiction.

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PROPERTIES

As of December 25, 2021, we operated in the following locations:

STORES

Retail Division (United States)

 

State

 

#

 

State

 

#

 

Alabama

 

23

 

Nebraska

 

9

 

Alaska

 

5

 

Nevada

 

19

 

Arizona

 

26

 

New Mexico

 

9

 

Arkansas

 

10

 

New York

 

11

 

California

 

87

 

North Carolina

 

39

 

Colorado

 

34

 

North Dakota

 

4

 

District of Columbia

 

1

 

Ohio

 

35

 

Florida

 

115

 

Oklahoma

 

13

 

Georgia

 

43

 

Oregon

 

17

 

Hawaii

 

8

 

Pennsylvania

 

8

 

Idaho

 

6

 

Puerto Rico

 

10

 

Illinois

 

36

 

South Carolina

 

17

 

Indiana

 

19

 

South Dakota

 

2

 

Iowa

 

6

 

Tennessee

 

28

 

Kansas

 

9

 

Texas

 

147

 

Kentucky

 

9

 

Utah

 

12

 

Louisiana

 

34

 

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

2

 

Maryland

 

9

 

Virginia

 

26

 

Michigan

 

25

 

Washington

 

29

 

Minnesota

 

23

 

West Virginia

 

5

 

Mississippi

 

13

 

Wisconsin

 

25

 

Missouri

 

25

 

Wyoming

 

2

 

Montana

 

3

 

TOTAL

 

 

1,038

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The supply chain facilities which we operate in the continental United States and Puerto Rico support our Business Solutions and Retail Divisions and the facilities in Canada support our Business Solutions Division. The following table sets forth the locations of our principal supply chain facilities from continuing operations as of December 25, 2021.

DCs and Crossdock Facilities

 

State

 

#

 

State

 

#

Arizona

 

1

 

New Mexico

 

1

California

 

5

 

North Carolina

 

1

Colorado

 

1

 

North Dakota

 

2

Florida

 

5

 

Ohio

 

2

Georgia

 

2

 

Oklahoma

 

1

Hawaii

 

7

 

Pennsylvania

 

1

Idaho

 

1

 

Puerto Rico

 

1

Illinois

 

5

 

Tennessee

 

1

Kansas

 

1

 

Texas

 

3

Minnesota

 

3

 

Washington

 

3

Mississippi

 

1

 

Wisconsin

 

6

Missouri

 

4

 

Total United States

 

58

 

 

 

 

Canada

 

9

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

 

67

 

Our principal corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, FL consists of three interconnected buildings of approximately 625,000 square feet. This facility is considered to be in good condition, adequate for its purpose and suitably utilized according to the individual nature and requirements of the relevant operations. Although we currently own our corporate office in Boca Raton, FL, as well as a small number of our retail store locations, most of our facilities are leased or subleased. Additional information regarding our operating leases and leasing arrangements is available in Note 1. “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” and Note 11. “Leases” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

For a description of our legal proceedings, refer to Note 16. “Commitments and Contingencies” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

 


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MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol ODP.

 

Holders

As of the close of business on February 16, 2022, there were 3,623 holders of record of our common stock.

Cash Dividend

Prior to July 2016, we had never declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. Beginning in the third quarter of fiscal 2016, our Board of Directors declared and paid cash dividends on our common stock. In order to preserve liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic and in light of the uncertainties as to its duration and economic impact, in May 2020, our Board of Directors suspended the Company’s quarterly cash dividend beginning in the second quarter of 2020. Our quarterly cash dividend remains suspended.

The timing, declaration and payment of future dividends to holders of our common stock fall within the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on our operating results, earnings, financial condition, the capital requirements of our business and other factors. Our Third Amended Credit Agreement permits restricted payments, such as dividends, but may be limited if we do not meet the required minimum liquidity or fixed charge coverage ratio requirements.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

In May 2021, our Board of Directors approved a new stock repurchase program of up to $300 million, available through June 30, 2022, which replaced the Company’s then existing $200 million stock repurchase program. On November 16, 2021, we entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement (“ASR”) to repurchase shares of our common stock in exchange for an up-front payment of $150 million and increased the authorization to $450 million. The total number of shares ultimately delivered under the ASR, and therefore the average repurchase price paid per share, will be determined based on the volume weighted-average price of our stock during the purchase period less a discount. The repurchase period runs through June 2022. We received 2.8 million shares of our common stock at the initiation of the ASR, which has increased treasury stock by $120 million, and the $30 million additional up-front payment was accounted for as a reduction in additional paid in capital. The ASR is a forward contract indexed to our common stock and met all of the applicable criteria for equity classification; therefore, it was not accounted for as a derivative instrument. Expenses incurred in connection with the ASR were recorded as a charge to additional paid in capital. Our Board of Directors reviewed the existing capital allocation programs in connection with the sale of CompuCom, and on December 31, 2021, authorized an additional $200 million for share repurchases under the existing stock repurchase program, for a total authorization of $650 million. The authorization may be suspended or discontinued at any time. The stock repurchase authorization permits us to repurchase stock from time-to-time through a combination of open market repurchases, privately negotiated transactions, 10b5-1 trading plans, accelerated stock repurchase transactions and/or other derivative transactions. The exact number and timing of stock repurchases will depend on market conditions and other factors, and will be funded through available cash balances. Our Third Amended Credit Agreement permits restricted payments, such as common stock repurchases, but may be limited if we do not meet the required minimum liquidity or fixed charge coverage ratio requirements. The authorized amount under the stock repurchase program excludes fees, commissions or other expenses.

The following table summarizes our common stock repurchases during the fourth quarter of 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approximate Dollar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number of

 

 

Value of Shares that

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares Purchased as

 

 

May Yet Be

 

 

 

Number

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of a Publicly

 

 

Purchased Under

 

 

 

of Shares

 

 

Average

 

 

Announced Plan or

 

 

the Repurchase

 

 

 

Purchased

 

 

Price Paid

 

 

Program

 

 

Programs

 

Period

 

(In millions)

 

 

per Share

 

 

(In millions)

 

 

(In millions) (1)

 

September 26 — October 23, 2021

 

 

0.5

 

 

$

42.96

 

 

 

0.5

 

 

$

156

 

October 24 — November 20, 2021

 

 

3.2

 

 

$

41.98

 

 

 

3.2

 

 

$

142

 

November 21 — December 25, 2021

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

$

142

 

Total

 

 

3.7

 

 

$

42.11

 

 

 

3.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

Includes a $30 million advance payment for remaining shares of our common stock to be delivered through June 2022 under the accelerated share repurchase agreement discussed above. On December 31, 2021, the Board of Directors authorized an additional $200 million for share repurchases under the existing $450 million stock repurchase program, for a total authorization of $650 million.

26


 

We purchased approximately 1.0 million, 1.7 million and 3.7 million shares of our common stock during the second, third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2021 at a weighted average price of $43.35 per common share. We made no repurchases of shares of common stock during the first quarter of fiscal 2021. For the year 2021, we purchased approximately 6 million shares of common stock for a total consideration of $277 million. At December 25, 2021, approximately $142 million remains available for additional purchases under the stock repurchase program. On December 31, 2021, the Board of Directors authorized an additional $200 million for share repurchases under the existing $450 million stock repurchase program, for a total authorization of $650 million.

The ODP Corporation Stock Comparative Performance Graph

The information contained in The ODP Corporation Comparative Performance Graph section shall not be deemed to be filed as part of this Annual Report and does not constitute soliciting material and should not be deemed filed or incorporated by reference into any other filing of the Company under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except to the extent we specifically incorporate the graph by reference.

The following graph compares the five-year cumulative total shareholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total returns of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (“S&P 500”) and the Standard & Poor’s Specialty Stores Index (“S&P Specialty Stores”) of which we are a component of each Index.

The graph assumes an investment of $100 at the close of trading on December 31, 2016, the last trading day of fiscal year 2016, in our common stock, the S&P 500 and the S&P Specialty Stores.

COMPARISON OF 5 YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*

Among The ODP Corporation, the S&P 500 Index

and the S&P Specialty Stores Index

 

 *$100 invested on 12/31/16 in stock or in index, including reinvestment of dividends. Indexes calculated on month-end basis.

Copyright© 2022 Standard & Poor's, a division of S&P Global. All rights reserved

 

 

 

12/31/16

 

 

12/30/17

 

 

12/29/18

 

 

12/28/19

 

 

12/26/20

 

 

12/25/2021

 

The ODP Corporation

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

80.23

 

 

 

59.23

 

 

 

64.80

 

 

 

71.29

 

 

 

97.09

 

S&P 500

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

121.83

 

 

 

116.49

 

 

 

153.17

 

 

 

181.35

 

 

 

233.41

 

S&P Specialty Stores

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

100.23

 

 

 

97.82

 

 

 

121.43

 

 

 

145.00

 

 

 

217.07

 

 

The stock price performance included in this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

27


 

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations is intended to provide information to assist readers in better understanding and evaluating our financial condition and results of operations. We recommend reading this MD&A in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto included in this Annual Report.

OVERVIEW

THE COMPANY

We are a leading provider of business services and supplies, products and digital workplace technology solutions to small, medium-sized and enterprise businesses. We operate through our direct and indirect subsidiaries and maintain a fully integrated business-to-business (“B2B”) distribution platform of thousands of dedicated sales and technology service professionals, online presence and 1,038 retail stores. Through our banner brands Office Depot®, OfficeMax® and Grand&Toy®, as well as others, we offer our customers the tools and resources they need to focus on starting, growing and running their business.

At December 25, 2021, our operations are organized into two reportable segments (or “Divisions”): Business Solutions Division, and Retail Division. After the second quarter of 2021, our Board of Directors provided their alignment with management’s commitment to a plan to sell its CompuCom Division through a single disposal group. Accordingly, that business is presented as discontinued operations beginning in the third quarter of 2021.

The Business Solutions Division, or BSD, is the largest component of our integrated B2B distribution platform in terms of both revenue and customers, and provides our customers with nationally branded as well as our private branded office supply products and services. Additionally, BSD provides adjacency products and services including cleaning and breakroom supplies, technology services, copy and print services, and office furniture products and services in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada through a dedicated sales force, catalogs, telesales, and electronically through our Internet websites. BSD includes the regional office supply distribution businesses we have acquired as part of our strategic transformation described in the section below.

The Retail Division includes our chain of retail stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands where we sell office supplies, technology products and solutions, business machines and related supplies, print, cleaning, breakroom supplies and facilities products, and furniture. In addition, our Retail Division offers a range of business-related services targeted to small businesses, technology support services as well as printing, copying, mailing and shipping services.

STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION

We have been undergoing a strategic business transformation to pivot our Company into an integrated B2B distribution platform, with the objective of expanding our product offerings to include value-added services for our customers and capture greater market share. As part of this transformation, we are evolving our B2B business and developing a new digital platform technology business, which has been named Varis, and aims to transform the B2B procurement and sourcing industry by filling the growing demand for a modern, trusted, digital B2B platform. On January 29, 2021, in connection with our development efforts in this area, we acquired BuyerQuest, a business services software company with an eProcurement platform for approximately $71 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. The purchase consideration for BuyerQuest includes $61 million paid at closing, funded with $26 million of cash on hand and the issuance of 827,498 shares of the Company’s common stock, and up to $10 million contingent consideration that will be payable over a two-year period subject to BuyerQuest meeting certain performance conditions. During the fourth quarter of 2021, based on BuyerQuest’s operating performance, the contingent consideration payable has been reduced to $7 million. BuyerQuest’s operating results are included in our Varis segment.

 

We continue to expand our reach and distribution network through acquisitions of profitable regional office supply distribution businesses, serving small and mid-market customers. Many of these customers are in geographic areas that were previously underserved by our network. During 2021, we acquired one small independent regional office supply distribution business, for approximately $2 million funded with cash on hand, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. These acquisitions have allowed for an effective and accretive means to expand our distribution reach, target new business customers and grow our offerings beyond traditional office supplies.

The operating results of the acquired office supply distribution businesses are combined with our operating results subsequent to their purchase dates, and are included in our Business Solutions Division. Refer to Note 2. “Acquisitions” in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

In January 2021, our Board of Directors announced that as a result of a business review of CompuCom, management had initiated a process to explore a value-maximizing sale of our CompuCom Division. The sale of our CompuCom Division was completed on December 31, 2021. Refer to the “Recent Developments” section for more information on this sale.

28


 

As previously announced, in May 2021, our Board of Directors unanimously approved a plan to pursue a separation of the Company into two independent, publicly traded companies. When the plan was announced, we expected to structure it as a tax-free spin-off of our B2B related operations. Following further review, we determined that we should utilize the flexibility created by the holding company reorganization in 2020 to structure the separation as a tax-free spin-off of our consumer business, with us retaining our B2B related operations (the “Separation”), as further described below. We believe that this modified approach will be more efficient considering that it is expected that the majority of the Company’s current management team and Directors will remain with the B2B business which will continue to be owned by “The ODP Corporation.” In December 2021, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal from a third party other than USR Parent, Inc. to acquire our consumer business. The terms of that proposal are confidential. Our Board of Directors is carefully reviewing the proposals received to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. As a result, we have determined to delay further work on the separation in order to avoid incurring potentially unnecessary separation costs while we focus on a potential sale of the consumer business. Refer to the “Recent Developments” section for more information on the progress of the Separation and Alternative Transaction for the Consumer Business.

STOCK SPLIT

After obtaining the approval of our shareholders on May 11, 2020, our Board of Directors determined to set a reverse stock split ratio of 1-for-10 for a reverse stock split of the Company’s outstanding shares of common stock, and a reduction in the number of authorized shares of the Company’s common stock by a corresponding ratio. The reverse stock split was effective on June 30, 2020. All share and per share amounts in this MD&A have been retroactively adjusted for the prior period presented to give effect to this reverse stock split.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Delay of Planned Separation and Exploration of Alternative Transaction for Consumer Business

As a result of the planned Separation, each company is expected to have a unique and highly focused strategy and investment profile, as follows:

 

ODP – a leading B2B solutions provider serving small, medium and enterprise level companies, will consist of several operating companies, including the contract sales channel of ODP’s current Business Solutions Division, which will be renamed ODP Business Solutions, and ODP’s newly formed B2B digital platform technology business, which has been named Varis. ODP Business Solutions and Varis will be owned by ODP, but operated as separate businesses. ODP will also continue to own the global sourcing operations and other sourcing, supply chain and logistics assets. Gerry Smith will continue to serve as CEO of The ODP Corporation following the separation; and

 

Office Depot – an Office Depot branded leading provider of retail consumer and small business products and services distributed via approximately 1,000 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations and an eCommerce presence, officedepot.com. Kevin Moffitt, currently EVP, Chief Retail Officer of The ODP Corporation, will be appointed CEO of Office Depot upon completion of the spin-off.

The Separation is expected to allow ODP and Office Depot to pursue market opportunities and separate growth strategies, and improve value for shareholders and stakeholders. While ODP and Office Depot will be separate, independent companies, they will share commercial agreements that will allow them to continue to leverage scale benefits in such areas as product sourcing and supply chain. The Separation is expected to occur through a tax-free stock dividend of shares of NewCo to ODP’s shareholders as of a record date to be determined by our Board of Directors, after which ODP shareholders will own 100% of the equity in both of the publicly traded companies.

The Separation was intended to be completed in the middle of 2022, subject to customary conditions, including final approval by our Board of Directors, opinions from tax counsel and a favorable ruling by the IRS on the tax-free nature of the transaction to the Company and to its shareholders, the filing and effectiveness of a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the approved listing of Office Depot’s common stock on a national securities exchange and the completion of any necessary financings. In December 2021, our Board of Directors received a non-binding proposal from a third party other than USR Parent, Inc. to acquire our consumer business. The terms of that proposal are confidential. Our Board of Directors is carefully reviewing this proposal as well as the June Proposal from USR Parent, Inc., which is discussed below, with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. As a result, we have determined to delay further work on the separation in order to avoid incurring potentially unnecessary separation costs while we focus on a potential sale of the consumer business.

29


 

There can be no assurance that a sale of the consumer business will take place and, if it were to take place, as to the terms of such a sale. There can also be no assurances regarding the ultimate timing of the Separation or that an alternative transaction will be completed. If the Separation is completed, we expect to incur significant costs in connection with it, which are expected to relate primarily to third-party professional fees, retention payments to certain employees, and other costs directly related to the Separation. We incurred $32 million in third-party professional fees associated with the Separation in 2021. We currently estimate that, if completed, costs to execute the Separation will exceed $100 million, although such estimate is subject to a number of assumptions and uncertainties. We also expect to incur significant costs associated with exploring the potential sale of our consumer business, which are expected to relate primarily to third-party professional fees, including legal fees.

Disposition of CompuCom

In January 2021, our Board of Directors announced that as a result of a business review of CompuCom, management had initiated a process to explore a value-maximizing sale of our CompuCom Division. During the third quarter of 2021, our Board of Directors aligned with management’s commitment to a plan to sell CompuCom through a single disposal group. The CompuCom disposal group has met the accounting criteria to be classified as held for sale as of the third quarter of 2021 and is presented as such in the Consolidated Financial Statements herein. The planned disposition of CompuCom represented a strategic shift that will have a major impact on our operations and financial results. Accordingly, the operating results and cash flows are classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented.

The sale of CompuCom was completed on December 31, 2021, and the transaction was structured and will be accounted for as an equity sale. The related Securities Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) provides for consideration consisting of a cash purchase price equal to $125 million (subject to customary adjustments, including for cash, debt and working capital), an interest-bearing promissory note in the amount of $55 million, and a holding fee (“earn-out”) provision providing for payments of up to $125 million in certain circumstances. The promissory note accrues interest at six percent per annum, payable on a quarterly basis in cash or in-kind, and is due in full on June 30, 2027. Under the earn-out provision, if the purchaser receives dividends or sale proceeds from the CompuCom business equal to (i) three (3) times its initial capital investment in the CompuCom business plus (ii) 15% per annum on subsequent capital investments, the Company will be entitled to 50% of any subsequent dividends or sale proceeds up to and until the Company has received an aggregate of $125 million. The Company also agreed to provide certain transitional services to the purchaser for a period of three to twelve months under a separate agreement after closing. The SPA contains customary warranties of the Company and the purchaser.

USR Parent, Inc. Proposals

On January 11, 2021, we received a proposal from USR Parent, Inc., the parent company of Staples Inc. and a portfolio company of Sycamore Partners, to acquire 100% of our issued and outstanding stock for $40.00 per share in cash (the “January Proposal”). After careful review and consideration of the January Proposal and in consultation with our financial and legal advisors, our Board of Directors unanimously concluded that there is a more compelling path forward to create value for us and our shareholders than the potential transaction described in the January Proposal. On January 19, 2021, we filed a statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC containing our Board of Director’s recommendation. We anticipate that we will incur significant legal and other expenses throughout this process.

On March 10, 2021, we received a second proposal (the “March Proposal”) from USR Parent, Inc., including a letter of intent to acquire various ODP assets, which our Board of Directors unanimously concluded that the March Proposal was not in the best interest of us and our shareholders as it did not contain a valuation of the assets that Staples sought to acquire, which include certain B2B businesses of ODP. Our Board further noted that the letter of intent, which contemplated a binding commitment to seek regulatory approval, also did not include any obligation on the part of Sycamore Partners or Staples to proceed with the transaction, agree to a purchase price, or assume any related regulatory risk. On March 15, 2021, we filed a statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC containing our Board of Directors’ recommendation. On March 31, 2021, USR Parent, Inc. publicly announced that USR Parent, Inc. has decided to defer the March 2021 launch of a tender offer for ODP’s common shares while reserving the right to commence one in the future.

On June 4, 2021, we received a third proposal (the “June Proposal” and together with the January Proposal and March Proposal, the “Proposals”) from USR Parent, Inc. to acquire our consumer business, including our retail stores, and reiterated its intention to commence a tender offer if negotiations for an alternative transaction are not successful. In November 2021, USR Parent, Inc. reaffirmed its June proposal to acquire the Company’s consumer business, including our retail stores business, and announced its decision to abandon its previously announced intent to commence a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of the Company. Our Board of Directors is carefully reviewing the June proposal with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the Company and our shareholders. 

30


 

We incurred $5 million in third-party professional fees related to the Proposals in 2021 including expenses incurred in connection with a Civil Investigative Demand (“CID”) from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), which is conducting an investigation of the Proposals. In order to relieve us from the continuation of a costly and burdensome process, the FTC has agreed to defer requiring further responses from us unless and until USR Parent, Inc. formally launches a tender offer, or the parties execute a negotiated agreement. Additionally, on May 4, 2021 the Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) advised us that it has determined that USR Parent, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of the Company would likely result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the sale of business essentials to enterprise customers in Canada. While it is not known for certain what the Bureau would do if USR Parent, Inc. actually launches a tender offer in the future, the Bureau’s determination signals that the Bureau would likely challenge the acquisition. However, we cannot be certain that USR Parent, Inc. will not commence a tender offer in the future. We anticipate that we will incur additional significant legal and other expenses throughout this process if USR Parent, Inc. pursues a tender offer.

COVID-19 UPDATE

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to have significant adverse impacts on the national and global economy during 2021. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained committed to making the health and wellness of our employees and customers a priority. Based upon the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) and local health authorities, we maintain appropriate measures to help reduce the spread of infection to our employees and customers, including increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in our facilities. While we have reopened our corporate headquarters, certain employees who are able to work productively from home, continue to work remotely. We continue to have employees in our retail stores, customer support and distribution centers working on-site at our facilities, as well as technicians and field support on-site at customer locations. Employee business travel remains limited to only essential business needs. Early in the first quarter of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved certain vaccines effective against COVID-19 for administering to the population and, as of the end of June 2021, every individual aged 12 and over in the United States is eligible to get vaccinated. However, there is significant uncertainty as to the ability to gain adequate herd-immunity levels through vaccine programs and their resilience to future virus variants.

We continued to experience a significant decline in overall demand for our products and services during 2021, as a result of the disruptions experienced by our business customers from restrictions on commercial activities and social distancing measures, and we expect these demand fluctuations to continue into first quarter of 2022. In response to the volatility resulting from the pandemic, we have taken measures to protect our financial position during this challenging time period, including creating contingency plans for merchandise categories that may be in high demand, adjusting our inventory levels, reducing certain occupancy costs, reducing nonessential expenses, and reducing our capital spend, among others. Our quarterly cash dividend also remains suspended.

We assess our outlook on a daily basis, but we are unable to accurately predict the pace and shape of the recovery from COVID-19 due to numerous uncertainties, including the duration of the pandemic, actions that may be taken by governmental authorities, the speed at which effective vaccines will be administered to a sufficient number of people to enable cessation of the virus, additional disruption to the economy and consumers’ willingness and ability to spend, temporary or permanent closures of our business customers, supply chain disruptions and other unforeseeable consequences. The recent spread of the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19, which appear to be more transmissible than other variants to date, may extend the impact of COVID-19 on our business. As a result, we expect weaker global economic conditions and increased unemployment, including continued business disruption relating to COVID-19 and resulting governmental actions will continue to negatively impact our business and results of operations in 2022, and could result in future impairments of our assets.

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS OF CONTINUING OPERATIONS AND LIQUIDITY

The following summarizes the more significant factors impacting our operating results for the 52-week period ended December 25, 2021 (also referred to as “2021”) and the 52-week period ended December 26, 2020 (also referred to as “2020”) as well as our liquidity in 2021 and 2020. We have omitted discussion of 2019 results where it would be redundant to the discussion previously included in MD&A of our 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our consolidated sales were 5% lower in 2021 compared to 2020. This year-over-year decrease was primarily driven by lower sales in our Retail Division. The decrease in sales of our Retail Division was due to planned store closures and lower demand in product categories such as technology, cleaning and personal protective equipment. These product categories had experienced higher demand in 2020, which was driven by the needs of our customers to help address their challenges derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, and included facilitating the continued remote work and virtual learning environments. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have begun to recede, more of our customers are transitioning into on-site work and in-person learning, and the demand for these categories has declined. These negative impacts on our sales in 2021 were partially offset by increased sales in other categories, primarily copy and print services, and office and school supplies. Our Business Solutions Division also experienced lower sales, which was primarily related to lower sales of cleaning products and personal protective equipment, as well as lower sales generated by our eCommerce platform, which experienced increased demand in 2020 as more customers preferred to order online and have their purchases delivered. These declines were partially offset by higher sales across majority of our other product categories in the Business Solutions

31


 

Division, and was driven by the continued recovery of our business-to-business customers, including those in the education sector, from the disruptions to their operations as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

(In millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

Change

 

Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Solutions Division

 

$

4,597

 

 

$

4,683

 

 

 

(2

)%

Retail Division

 

 

3,837

 

 

 

4,167

 

 

 

(8

)%

Other

 

 

31

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

41

%

Total

 

$

8,465

 

 

$

8,872

 

 

 

(5

)%

OTHER SIGNIFICANT FACTORS IMPACTING TOTAL COMPANY RESULTS AND LIQUIDITY

 

Total gross profit decreased by $89 million or 5% in 2021 compared to 2020. The decrease in gross profit was driven by the flow-through impact of lower sales in our Business Solutions Division and Retail Division, which consisted of $66 million and $23 million, respectively, of the decrease in gross profit in 2021. These reductions were partially offset by the impact of acquisitions within our Business Solutions Division.

 

Total gross margin for 2021 was 22%, which was consistent with the gross margin in 2020. Although we incurred higher rates of product and distribution costs in 2021 as a percentage of our sales, the impact of these were fully offset by a reduction in our occupancy cost margin. While we incurred incremental costs related to trade tariffs on inventory we purchase from suppliers in China, certain actions, including changes to our contracting model, alternative sourcing strategies, and selective price increase pass-through efforts mitigated much of the impact of such trade tariffs to our results of operations.

 

Total selling, general and administrative expenses decreased by $103 million or 6% in 2021 compared to 2020. The decrease was the result of store closures in our Retail Division and certain strategic initiatives, including the Maximize B2B Restructuring Plan, aimed to generate savings through optimizing our retail footprint, removing costs that directly support the Retail Division and additional measures to implement a company-wide low-cost business model reducing our spend on payroll and payroll-related costs other discretionary expenses such as professional fees, conting