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Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off At Staples

Staples Reports Top-Selling Holiday Merchandise and Shopping Trends; Offers Free Online and Catalog Shipping Though December; Holiday Shopping Gift Guide Arrives in Stores

Saturday, November 30, 2002 7:00 am EST

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SPLS
"Our early holiday shopping sales are a key indicator of what customers want this gift giving season"

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Holiday shopping kicked off in full force this weekend, with Staples customers purchasing technology gifts, product accessories and office furniture. Based on early season shopping sales at Staples' 1,100 retail stores and online at www.staples.com, key gift items and a number of "back-to-basics" emerged as top sellers.

"Our early holiday shopping sales are a key indicator of what customers want this gift giving season," said Philo Pappas, senior vice president of merchandising for Staples. "From office and home-office essentials to the latest technology products, customers are going online and visiting our Staples stores to easily find something for everyone on their list."

Through "Black Friday," Staples hot selling items are:

Digital Camera Craze

The Kodak DX4330 digital camera is Staples' top selling 3.1 megapixel digital camera. The Kodak DX4330 digital camera includes advanced features such as 3X optical zoom and advanced LCD panel that allows you to see photos in any light exposure. Priced under $300, the digital camera comes with 16MB of internal memory so you can immediately begin taking pictures.

All-In-One Multi-Function Machines

Priced under $300, the HP PSC 2210 Color All-In-One is a popular gift purchase among Staples holiday shoppers. This gift is compact and serves as a multifunction machine for customers looking to combine all their office needs in one. This versatile machine prints, faxes, copies, scans and is one of the fastest machines of its kind on the market. It has a built-in memory card reader that reads a variety of digital memory cards, allowing consumers to print digital images directly from their digital camera without a PC.

LCD Monitor Magic

The 15" NEC 1545V, priced around $350, is Staples top selling LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. In the world of computer upgrades, LCD monitors are on everyone's wish list. Staples' customers are making the upgrade from CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors, opting for the higher resolution and space-saving features that LCDs offer.

Photo Printers

The HP Photosmart 7350 Color Photo Printer is a hot demand item this holiday season. Priced under $200, this color photo printer has everything you need to print out high quality photos. It allows you to print 4x6-inch borderless photos in a snap, with speeds of up to 17 pages per minute in black and white or 11 color pages per minute.

The Best Seat in the House

One of the hottest selling items at Staples is the Global leather executive chair, at an attractive price of $69.94. "We are constantly hearing from our customers that more people are working from home and they need comfortable and stylish chairs from which to work from," added Pappas. "For businesses conducted out of the home, an office chair may get more of a workout than the couch or even a kitchen chair." Staples offers a large selection of office chairs at prices that range from $49 to $399.

Other Hot Gifts

In addition, other hot selling products that make great holiday gifts or stocking stuffers include:

-- Photo Paper - Staples branded photo paper is one of the basics that many Staples' shoppers are buying this holiday season. Since digital cameras and photo printers are hot gifts, Staples photo paper completes the package.

-- Writing Instruments - The new Pendulum pen by Sanford is topping shoppers' lists. The pen has an ergonomic tip and grip design that adjusts to your writing angles, allowing customers to write out holiday cards in a fun, smooth and comfortable manner.

-- Gifts for the kids -Mr. Sketch scented watercolor markers are all the rage and top kids' wish lists. Available in 12 assorted colors, scents include cherry, blueberry and mint and make any artwork look and smell like a masterpiece.

-- Staples Gift Card - A Staples gift card is always a popular last minute gift, but it is already selling briskly early in the season. A Staples gift card is good for that hard to shop for family member or co-worker. Available in any quantity, the gift card can be redeemed at any Staples store.

"With our great selection, everyday low prices and reliable customer service, Staples is a convenient destination for holiday shopping. Staples guaranteed low price policy is a great alternative when searching for the perfect gift," explained Pappas.

Three Easy Ways To Shop and Holiday Gift Guide

Staples makes it easy and convenient to purchase these and other sought-after holiday items by offering three ways to shop: in-store, through the Staples catalog or online at www.staples.com. Visitors to the Web site can click on the Holiday Center for additional gift suggestions and savings. The Staples Web site also offers side-by-side product comparisons, including prices and product features, to help determine which brand is best for you. In addition, Staples Holiday Shopping Gift Guide arrived in stores this weekend to help make gift selection easy.

Packing and Free Online Shipping

Staples also offers a timesaving solution for shipping holiday gifts purchased in stores--the UPS Pack and Ship Center. Staples customers have the added benefit of receiving low price UPS counter rates, making all the holiday services available in one convenient place. Staples sells all the packing supplies you will need, from tape and bubble wrap, to mailing labels and boxes. Or if you shop from home, delivery for all online and catalog purchases is free through December 28th.

About Staples Inc.

Staples Inc. is an $11 billion provider of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and is the largest operator of office superstores in the world.

The company has over 51,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,400 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at http://www.staples.com.

Certain information contained in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: our market is highly competitive and we may not continue to compete successfully; we may be unable to continue to successfully open new stores; our Dover format store may not be successful; our growth may continue to strain operations, which could adversely affect our business and financial results; we could encounter difficulties in integrating the new European mail order businesses and Medical Arts Press, Inc.; our quarterly operating results are subject to significant fluctuation and are impacted by the extent to which sales in new stores result in the loss of sales in existing stores, the mix of products sold, pricing actions of competitors, the level of advertising and promotional expenses and seasonality; our operating results may be impacted by changes in the economy; our stock price may fluctuate based on market expectations; our European operations may not become profitable; our International operations expose us to the unique risks inherent in foreign operations; our debt level could impact our ability to obtain future financing and continue our growth strategy; and those other factors discussed in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending August 3, 2002, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and any subsequent periodic reports filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our estimates only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimates change. Store count is based on North American retail store information only.

Contact:

Staples, Inc.
Julie Mittelman
617-699-2117 - (wkd)
508-253-8580 - (office)
julie.mittelman@staples.com
or
Staples, Inc.
Paul Capelli
508-728-1271 (wkd)
508-253-8530 - (office)

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