Staples is shuttering 140 stores in North America by the end of 2014 and moving more of its business online as companies and consumers find less need for its traditional ink, toner and paper items.

The world's largest office-supply retailer said Wednesday profit in the second quarter dropped 20 per cent to $82 million, citing the costs associated with already closing 80 of the 140 earmarked locations during the three month period as well as changes in currency. It's unclear how many of the affected store are in Canada.

In total, the chain has 1,846 locations in the U.S. and Canada, of which 331 were in Canada, as of March.

Sales also slipped nearly two per cent to $5.22 billion, but online sales ticked up by 8 per cent, which says the company is taking itself out of the big-box game and better positioning itself in the digital landscape to compete with online powerhouse

Staples said it's seeing strong numbers in the sale of more non-traditional items. Facilities and breakroom supply sales were in the double digits and the sale of office furniture grew in the high single digits.

"We're accelerating growth in our delivery businesses as customers turn to Staples for more products beyond office supplies," said Staples' chairman and CEO Ron Sargent. "But we have more work to do to stabilize our retail business, and we’re taking action to improve customer traffic, reduce expenses and close underperforming stores."

Staples shares were more than two per cent lower to close at $11.32.

With files from Reuters