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Staples Launches Industry-First Unified Paper Brightness Standard

New Quality Printing Paper For Use in Both Laser and Inkjet Machines and Packaging Make Paper Selection Easy

Monday, October 4, 2004 7:00 am EDT

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.

Public Company Information:

NASDAQ:
SPLS
"Staples brand products offer equal to or better quality than the national brands, and at a lower price. With our new brightness standardization, new printing paper line and packaging, Staples has reinvented the category and we believe we are the easiest place to purchase paper"

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With hundreds of paper products available and three disparate quality-rating standards used in the United States, it is difficult for consumers to compare products and choose the best paper for their needs. As part of its promise to make buying office products easy, today Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) becomes the first retailer to take the industry-leading step of standardizing paper brightness scales. In addition, Staples unveiled the industry's first full line of high quality printing paper optimized to work with both a laser and inkjet printer, and new packaging for easy comparison and selection.

According to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, in 2003, nearly seven million tons of uncoated cut sheet paper was sold in the U.S. Yet the selection process is anything but straightforward. Consumers are faced with different weights, brightness levels and types of paper. Paper brightness is a leading quality indicator, however it can be measured in the TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry/American), ISO (International Standards Organization/European), or the D-65 scale, making it difficult to compare products. Often paper packaging cites the brightness number, but does not specify what scale that number corresponds to, further complicating the process. In response, Staples has collaborated with its vendors to ensure all cut-sheet paper sold online and in its stores follows the TAPPI scale.

"With no consistent standard available in the industry, we are taking a leadership position in helping consumers make educated paper purchasing decisions," said Jevin Eagle, senior vice president of Staples Brands at Staples, Inc. "We adopted the TAPPI scale so that our customers will have an easy way of identifying the appropriate paper for their needs."

Over the next twelve months, all white cut-sheet paper sold by Staples will be measured in one consistent brightness scale. Paper from Staples, Hewlett-Packard, International Paper, Hammermill, Georgia Pacific, Kodak and Xerox sold by Staples will be easy to compare, with the TAPPI score clearly displayed on all packaging. With this change, a consumer can quickly and easily identify the best papers for printing business proposals (97 brightness) or for high volume copying (84 brightness).

Beginning in November, customers can achieve high quality output on a single choice of Staples brand paper regardless of their type of printer. Staples has designed a specialized printing paper that works with both inkjet and laser printers, and contains 30 percent post consumer recycled content. Additionally, new packaging will be available with a color-coded system and a buying chart, with easy-to-understand images, to help customers make the best selection for their printing needs.

"Staples brand products offer equal to or better quality than the national brands, and at a lower price. With our new brightness standardization, new printing paper line and packaging, Staples has reinvented the category and we believe we are the easiest place to purchase paper," said Eagle.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products retailer. With 60,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2003 sales of $13 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 18 countries throughout North America and Europe. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates approximately 1,600 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at www.staples.com.

Contact:

Staples, Inc.
Julie Mittelman, 508-253-8580
julie.mittelman@staples.com
or
Weber Shandwick
Andy Rohr, 617-520-7030
arohr@webershandwick.com

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