Executive Briefings

E-commerce Boosts Sales, Potential of Wholesaler United Stationers

Its name suggests a narrow focus on office supplies, but United Stationers Inc. is far more than a wholesale distributor of copy paper, notebooks, pens and staplers. The $5bn-plus company also supplies janitorial and breakroom supplies, provides industrial equipment to the welding, oil field and building construction industries, and has a major - and increasing - focus on helping thousands of resellers sell online to their business end-customers.

Net sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased 6.2 percent, to $1.4bn from $1.3bn a year earlier, and one of the most rapid areas of growth was in sales to its growing based of online resellers. “We are particularly pleased to see strong momentum in online sales, which were up almost 20 percent,” said Cody Phipps, president and CEO.

Contributing to United Stationers’ success in e-commerce is an aggressive strategy of building out an infrastructure, and in-house expertise, that supports a shift to online sales. In June, the company acquired CPO Commerce, an online merchant of power tools and other industrial supplies with a network of 41 e-commerce sites that sell to both businesses and consumers. The third quarter marked CPO’s first full quarter as part of United Stationers, and the new unit didn’t disappoint with its contribution to its new parent’s total sales. CPO “continued its double-digit growth pace, adding $21.9m in sales to our top line,” said Todd Shelton, chief financial officer.

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Net sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 increased 6.2 percent, to $1.4bn from $1.3bn a year earlier, and one of the most rapid areas of growth was in sales to its growing based of online resellers. “We are particularly pleased to see strong momentum in online sales, which were up almost 20 percent,” said Cody Phipps, president and CEO.

Contributing to United Stationers’ success in e-commerce is an aggressive strategy of building out an infrastructure, and in-house expertise, that supports a shift to online sales. In June, the company acquired CPO Commerce, an online merchant of power tools and other industrial supplies with a network of 41 e-commerce sites that sell to both businesses and consumers. The third quarter marked CPO’s first full quarter as part of United Stationers, and the new unit didn’t disappoint with its contribution to its new parent’s total sales. CPO “continued its double-digit growth pace, adding $21.9m in sales to our top line,” said Todd Shelton, chief financial officer.

Read Full Article