A sign is posted in front of an Office Depot store on February 19, 2013 in San Rafael, California. - 

In the world of office supplies, two players exist that sound so similar you might think they're the same company: Office Depot and OfficeMax.

This morning, the companies confirmed that they're merging to better compete in the marketplace.

"Online retail is [looming] over everyone's head, I don't think they want to go down the road of the [bookstores]," says Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Prudential Douglas Elliman.

As many as 600 stores could be closed or sold as a result of the deal, which could dampen real estate values at roadside malls and cost jobs.

Yet, Consolo believes growth in other business areas, such as the food sector, will make up for the consolidation.

"The Whole Foods of the world are constantly seeking more space,” Consolo says. “In the long term this will give good opportunities to other retailers.”




Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson