Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Staples has made an official announcement that Sycamore Partners will acquire its business in a deal likely to be concluded by December. We note that shares of Staples have outpaced the industry in the past three months, stock is unlikely to gain in the near future as persistent weakness in the office products sector, technological advancements and stiff competition continue to hurt its performance. As a result, both the top and bottom lines continue to decline year over year. Although Staples posted in-line earnings for the fourth quarter in row, when it reported first-quarter fiscal 2017 results, sales missed our estimate for the third time. However, we can’t ignore the initiatives management has undertaken to bring itself back on the track. The company’s actions to streamline operations aimed at enhancing productivity and performance of North American business bode well.”

SPLS has been the subject of several other research reports. BidaskClub upgraded Staples from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Saturday, August 5th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $9.00 price target on shares of Staples in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Deutsche Bank AG set a $8.00 price target on Staples and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, June 22nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Staples in a report on Tuesday, June 20th. Finally, Telsey Advisory Group upped their price target on Staples from $9.00 to $10.25 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Thursday, June 29th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Staples currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $9.18.

Shares of Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) opened at 10.20 on Wednesday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $10.13 and its 200-day moving average price is $9.41. Staples has a 1-year low of $7.24 and a 1-year high of $10.25. The company’s market capitalization is $6.66 billion.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 16th. The specialty retailer reported $0.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.17. Staples had a positive return on equity of 14.07% and a negative net margin of 12.51%. The business had revenue of $4.15 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $4.50 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.17 earnings per share. Staples’s revenue was down 4.9% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts expect that Staples will post $0.88 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Staples by 1.5% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 66,280,831 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $667,448,000 after buying an additional 1,003,226 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in Staples by 1.1% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 48,433,573 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $487,727,000 after buying an additional 534,143 shares in the last quarter. FMR LLC boosted its position in Staples by 15.1% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 35,888,851 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $361,400,000 after buying an additional 4,708,987 shares in the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its position in Staples by 9.8% in the first quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 33,605,835 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $293,715,000 after buying an additional 2,985,904 shares in the last quarter. Finally, State Street Corp boosted its position in Staples by 1.4% in the first quarter. State Street Corp now owns 29,559,253 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $259,230,000 after buying an additional 416,843 shares in the last quarter. 90.62% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Staples

Staples, Inc (Staples) is a provider of products and services that serve the needs of business customers and consumers. The Company offers a range of print and marketing and technology services. The Company’s segments include North American Delivery, North American Retail and Other. The North American Delivery segment consists of the United States and Canadian businesses, including Staples Business Advantage, staples.com, staples.ca, and quill.com, that sell and deliver products and services primarily to businesses.

Analyst Recommendations for Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS)

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