You Will Soon Be Able To Rent Out Office Space Inside A Staples Store

With a growing number of shoppers going online, retailers no longer need the vast acreage of floor space inside their stores — like Hallmark shops inside of JCPenney, or Sears Hometown mini-stores inside of Ace Hardware. And with more people working remotely, it was only time before some retailer got the notion of carving out some rental office space for customers. 

In Staples’ case, the space will be rented by startup Workbar, which will operate a 2,500 to 3,500 square-feet communal office sharing space inside three of the office supply chain’s stores in Boston, the retailer announced on Monday.

The workspaces, which are available to Workbar members for a fee, will include a mix of simple desk areas, conference rooms, private phone room, and other typical office fare such as printers, copiers, and more.

“We’re excited to team up with Workbar to offer business people a productive working environment in our Staples stores by providing convenient, affordable space and amenities so they can make more happen during their workday,” Peter Scala, executive vice president merchandising, Staples, said in a statement. “Workbar locations will provide a sense of community and the opportunity to network and collaborate with other motivated professionals.”

Scala tells the Wall Street Journal that the deal gives Staples a chance to boost its sales, which have been declining for several years.

“Obviously, it drives traffic for us,” Scala says. “Our goal here is to continually focus on making large stores more productive.”

Staples’ partnership with Workbar comes as the office supply company continues to prepare for life with or without proposed merger-mate Office Depot.

The two companies are currently battling anti-trust regulators in court for approval of the $6.3 billion deal. As a result, both retailers have closed stores and cut staff.

Staples Finds New Use for Its Stores: Office Space [The Wall Street Journal]

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