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Office Depot to Develop App for Business Customers

Thursday, June 29, 2017  
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Office Depot signaled a new direction for the company Thursday with the announcement it will develop an app for businesses to help manage assets and give them faster access to the retailer’s products and services.

  

The office supplies retailer, headquartered in Boca Raton, said it will partner with San Francisco-based Centriq Technology to develop a business version of Office Depot’s current app that would manage assets such as a printer or personal computer.

 

CEO Gerry Smith said the app “will differentiate Office Depot.”

 

“This exclusive agreement with Centriq is the first step in showing that we are moving toward a strategic transformation of our company outside of the traditional retail model,” Smith said in a news release.

 

At the same time, Office Depot will become a minority shareholder of Centriq, the companies announced.

 

Office Depot is partnering with Centriq, Smith said, because “Centriq’s unique technology platform has many applications...We will leverage that technology to provide new services and an interactive sales experience for our customers.”

 

The new app will be designed to allow owners and managers to streamline their business operations, including office-supply purchases, from “the palm of their hands,” Smith said.

 

Centriq’s platform is considered a “game-changer” as a home management resource, Office Depot said. Centriq Home, available for iPhone and Android mobile phones, connects homeowners to manufacturers for support, troubleshooting, and parts and accessories purchases. Centriq won the 2016 Platinum Award in the Game Changer category from the National Association of Homebuilders.

 

Centriq is an early-stage technology company founded in 2015 by former digital innovation executives from Salesforce.com.

 

Smith, who joined Office Depot as CEO in February, has a technology background. He previously was chief operating officer of North Carolina-based technology company Lenovo. He also has held executive positions at Dell.

 

Office Depot had $11 billion in 2016 sales. The company, which sells office supplies in its 1,400 Office Depot and OfficeMax stores nationwide as well as online, has been struggling to reinvent itself as online competition has increased. The company employs about 2,000 at its headquarters in Boca Raton.


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