NEW YORK CITY-Still focusing on the early phases of its turnaround strategy, OfficeMax has closed 109 stores and eventually will look to growing again, EVP and CFO Don Civgin said at the Goldman Sachs 13th Annual Global Retailing Conference here.

The closings took place in the first quarter, leaving the office supply chain with 874 units. It has continued to open new stores, but it is unclear just how many more will open.

“[The closings] should not be viewed as the real estate strategy,” Civgin said. “It should be viewed as part of the real estate strategy.”

Largely, the Naperville, IL-based company has focused on basic execution, cutting costs and improving systems to improve cash flow. That curtailed the number of openings in 2006. Initial plans for 70 new units was cut back to between 45 and 50. Civgin was noncommittal regarding store growth in 2007.

“We want to be very prudent as we were in 2006 as to how we spend our money, and on what we spend our money,” Civgin said. “There are many opportunities out there.”

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