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

A number of other brokerages have also issued reports on SPLS. BidaskClub upgraded Staples from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Saturday, August 5th. Deutsche Bank AG set a $8.00 target price on Staples and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, June 22nd. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. restated a “hold” rating on shares of Staples in a research note on Tuesday, June 20th. Loop Capital restated a “hold” rating and issued a $5.00 target price on shares of Staples in a research note on Friday, May 19th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of Staples in a research note on Wednesday, August 9th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Staples currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $9.18.

Staples (SPLS) traded up 0.049% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $10.195. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 3,634,339 shares. Staples has a one year low of $7.24 and a one year high of $10.25. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $10.10 and a 200-day moving average price of $9.39. The company’s market capitalization is $6.66 billion.

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, May 16th. The specialty retailer reported $0.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.17. The company had revenue of $4.15 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $4.50 billion. Staples had a positive return on equity of 14.07% and a negative net margin of 12.51%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.17 EPS. Equities research analysts forecast that Staples will post $0.88 EPS for the current year.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WARNING: This report was first reported by American Banking News and is the property of of American Banking News. If you are viewing this report on another domain, it was copied illegally and reposted in violation of U.S. & international copyright law. The correct version of this report can be accessed at https://www.americanbankingnews.com/2017/08/16/staples-inc-spls-lowered-to-sell-at-zacks-investment-research.html.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Ballentine Partners LLC raised its position in Staples by 0.5% in the second quarter. Ballentine Partners LLC now owns 10,304 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $104,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. raised its position in shares of Staples by 0.4% in the second quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 19,374 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $195,000 after buying an additional 77 shares in the last quarter. Concert Wealth Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Staples by 0.7% in the first quarter. Concert Wealth Management Inc. now owns 12,065 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $109,000 after buying an additional 82 shares in the last quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. raised its position in shares of Staples by 0.5% in the first quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 15,885 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $139,000 after buying an additional 85 shares in the last quarter. Finally, CIBC Asset Management Inc raised its position in shares of Staples by 0.3% in the second quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 73,643 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock valued at $742,000 after buying an additional 203 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 90.62% of the company’s stock.

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.

Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Staples (SPLS)

For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Analyst Recommendations for Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS)

Receive News & Ratings for Staples Inc. Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Staples Inc. and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.