Boca Raton, Florida (PRESS RELEASE – December 6, 2010) – Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), a leading global provider of office products and services, today announced the results of its latest Office Depot Small Business Index – a monthly survey commissioned to gauge the economic trends of small businesses in America.
Overall, the new edition of the Office Depot Small Business Index reveals that attitudes toward the economy and state of small businesses are mixed following the completion of the mid-term elections.
According to the latest survey, fewer small businesses believe that the results of the mid-term elections will have a positive impact on their business, while a higher percentage now feel that the results will be negative (post-election – 22 percent vs. pre-election – 17 percent). Both the importance and impact of the elections are closely tied to business size (number of employees), as the larger the company, the more likely they are to feel that the election results will be important to their business.
Not surprisingly, however, the economy has had a significant impact on small businesses and their attitudes toward the 2010 mid-term elections (both pre and post-election), as about two-thirds of the respondents who agree that the elections were important and impactful (positively) to their business indicated that their company has been affected by the recent economic downturn – higher than their counterparts who do not place as much importance on the elections.
Virtually unchanged from before the election, about one-quarter of the small businesses indicates that their company will be hiring new employees in the near future (next six months).
Among small businesses that expected the elections to have a positive impact on their business (prior to the results), a significantly greater number of these small businesses anticipate that the Republican victory will result in “lower taxes” (41 percent) and “less government regulation” (43 percent).
When looking at the results on a geographical level, it is interesting to note that small businesses in Texas and Florida are more likely to believe that the mid-term election results will have a positive impact on their business compared to their counterparts in California and Illinois (Texas – 42 percent; Florida – 40 percent; Illinois – 36 percent; California – 34 percent).
“With the mid-term elections complete, we are seeing that many small businesses continue to remain cautiously optimistic about the future of the economy,” said Neil Austrian, Interim Chairman and CEO of Office Depot. “Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy, and Office Depot stands ready to help these customers emerge out of what has been a terrible recession.”
Survey Methodology/Sample Qualifications
Interviews are conducted via the Internet among a nationally representative sample of Small and Medium Sized Businesses. The pre-election wave of interviewing was conducted from October 22nd, 2010 to November 1st, 2010. A total of 1,010 surveys were conducted among a nationally representative sample of small and medium sized businesses, plus an oversample in order to end with a total of 250 respondents from each of the above mentioned states – bringing the total sample for the pre-election wave up to 1,559.
The post-election wave of interviewing was conducted from November 8th, 2010 to November 17th, 2010. A total of 1,000 surveys were conducted among a nationally representative sample of small and medium sized businesses, plus an oversample in order to end with a total of at least 250 respondents from California, Florida, Illinois and Texas – resulting in a total sample for the post-election wave of 1,581.
About Office Depot
Every day, Office Depot is Taking Care of Business for millions of customers around the globe. For the local corner store as well as Fortune 500 companies, Office Depot provides products and services to its customers through 1,600 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and a $4.1 billion e-commerce operation. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $12.1 billion, and employs about 41,000 associates around the world. The Company provides more office products and services to more customers in more countries than any other company, and currently sells to customers directly or through affiliates in 53 countries.
Office Depot’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S&P 500 Index.