Staples looks to expand e-commerce capabilities by opening new facility in Seattle

Staples Inc., the Framingham-based office supply giant that is looking to re-energize itself, said Thursday that it plans to open a Seattle development center that will be the company’s first West Coast office dedicated to e-commerce and engineering.

Staples says its the second largest Internet retailer, but lately it’s had some issues with the brick-and-mortar side of its business. About a year ago, Staples unveiled plans to turn the company around by closing stores in the United States and abroad, shrinking the size of other retail locations, and restructuring its overseas business, as well as the company’s leadership. The company said it expected to trim its retail space in North America roughly 15 percent by the end of 2015, and has been revamping certain locations to blend in-store, online, and mobile shopping.

In a Globe story last week, an equity analyst at Morningstar, said Staples has been a “first mover” in making the transition to online sales and sits behind only on the list of top Internet retailers.

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In Thursday’s press release, Staples said it is adding software development, product management, usability, analytics and online merchandising positions as it continues to invest in omnichannel capabilities that let customers shop however and whenever they want, across mobile devices, desktops and stores.

“Staples is changing the way customers shop online,”Faisal Masud, the company’s executive vice president of global e-commerce, said in a statement. “Seattle is an innovation hub rivaling Silicon Valley and features some of the world’s biggest technology companies. Staples new Development Center will allow us to tap into the wide range of talented engineering and e-commerce professionals on the West Coast.”

In a separate statement, Prakash Muppirala, vice president of e-commerce engineering, added: “Staples is investing in areas with high concentrations of the e-commerce and engineering talent that will be key to our success. We will build integrated, collaborative teams with the goal of making the shopping experience easy.”

The Seattle center is scheduled to open during the coming months, the release said.