A CEO’s brawl with Office Depot just cost his company $50 million in lost sales

  • Newell Brands, which makes Sharpies and Paper Mate pens, lost $50 million in sales in the most recent quarter because of a dispute with Office Depot, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Newell stopped some shipments to Office Depot because it believed the retailer wasn’t doing enough to promote its products.

The CEO of the company that makes Sharpies just cost his company millions of dollars in lost sales over a dispute with Office Depot.

Newell Brands stopped some shipments of its markers and pens to Office Depot last year because it believed the retailer wasn’t doing enough to promote its products, which along with Sharpies, include Paper Mate pens and Elmer’s Glue, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The battle led to a sharp decline of 10%, or $50 million, in Newell Brands’ sales of writing utensils during the most recent quarter, according to the Journal.

But Newell CEO Michael Polk said he had to put pressure on Office Depot.

“These things, you have to be prepared to see them all the way through,” Polk told the Journal.

The fight between the two companies has since been resolved. In remarks to the Journal, Polk blamed the dispute on the pressure that Office Depot is facing as sales of office supplies migrate online.

“When those guys feel that foot-traffic pressure, they have to cover their margins and their earnings,” he said. “How to they do that? They hold on to spending and don’t pass it through to the consumer. If you don’t contest that when it occurs, you find yourself funding their margin and you can’t do that.”