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Staples Rings the "First Bell" of the 2010 Back-to-School Shopping Season
Company Addresses Findings of Annual Survey with More Ways to Save, Expanded Tech Products and Services, and New Star Power in the Do Something 101 School Supply Drive

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Jul 14, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS), the world's largest office products company and a top retail destination for back to school, declared July 14 as the official first day of the 2010 back-to-school shopping season. For the third consecutive year, the company opened the NASDAQ market with the "first bell" to remind parents and students that stores are fully stocked with a wide assortment of the newest supplies and technologies at great prices.

"Staples has more than two decades of back-to-school experience, and we are committed to making it easy for parents and students to find the right product at the right price," said Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples, Inc. "Each year, Staples kicks off the season to provide customers an official start date for back-to-school shopping and a clear roadmap for savings throughout the season."

According to the 2010 Staples Back-to-School Survey, fielded through the BlogHer publishing network of moms, the plurality of respondents identify themselves as "Deal Divas" (42 percent) who focus on finding sales and the best deals. In addition, the vast majority (78 percent) said they would not give up anything to have someone else do their back-to-school shopping because they enjoy doing it themselves.

Staples is making it easy for customers to save on back-to-school shopping by reducing prices on hundreds of core items, offering increased savings with Staples Brand products such as the BETTER Binder and Accel notebooks, and providing a one-stop shop and stress-free experience all season long. In addition, the company has several new ways to save for the 2010 back-to-school season, including:

  • More weekly circular coupons that allow customers to save on products storewide or within select categories.
  • Increased volume and frequency of "hot buy" penny and dollar deals; for example, all week, through Saturday, July 17, Staples is offering 12 items for $1 each, such as Scotch tape, select pencil boxes and glue sticks.
  • New laptop/software bundles offers that allow customers to save big on technology.

With technology becoming a staple on school supply lists, Staples is also offering more savings and new tech solutions to keep students connected in the upcoming school year, including:

  • The new no-risk "Extended Service Plan" available in most stores helps parents feel secure about purchasing a laptop from Staples. This easy and worry-free option includes technical support and protection that is perfect for students. If the plan is never used over the term of the agreement, customers can get reimbursed for 100 percent of the plan's cost. (some restrictions apply in select states)
  • Staples' computer trade-in option gives customers upgrading a qualifying computer a $50 credit toward the purchase of a brand new laptop (regularly priced $599 or more) and recycles the old computer for free. Staples is proud to carry a full range of laptops and desktops from the leading brands such as HP and Dell to address the needs of students and help them find the right computer at the right price.
  • A vast selection of tech gear and accessories at great prices from fun calculators and flash drives to portable MP3 players and speakers. Even traditional back-to-school products are proving that tech is the new "must-have" school supply. Whether it's a backpack, laptop sleeve, or pencil pouch, students can find a wide assortment of products to tote their tech tools at Staples this back-to-school season.
  • The Staples EasyTech Free PC Tune-Up provides peace of mind about the health of students' computers. Certified in-store technicians will clean out system clutter, optimize platform Windows performance, organize hard drive files, identify security vulnerabilities, and assess memory and performance. Staples EasyTechs can also keep computers running throughout the school year regardless of where they were purchased.

"Whether you're looking to upgrade your student's laptop, provide them a high quality backpack or help them express their individual style with unique supplies, Staples makes it easy to save and find everything on your list," said Parneros. "From our risk-free extended service plan on new computers to our weekly coupon deals, Staples is helping everyone enjoy maximum savings."

"First Bell" also signifies the start of the Staples Do Something 101 School Supply Drive. Now through Sept. 18, Staples and Do Something.org, with the help from Twilight star, Nikki Reed, are encouraging teens to collect school supplies for disadvantaged youth and drop them off at their nearest Staples store. Staples customers can also get involved by donating supplies or $1 at any Staples store, or through a new text-to-donate campaign. When parents text NOTEBOOK to 20222, they will be donating $5 directly to the Do Something 101 campaign. Funds raised will be dispersed to the beneficiary organizations already matched to Staples stores.

Also new for 2010, Do Something 101 is adding even more celebrity power with the Give-Back Pack, a grassroots and online program where music artists Jason Derulo, Kellie Pickler and Drake Bell are encouraging teens to get involved in the cause. Teens can go online to www.staplesgivebackpack.com and pick Jason, Kellie or Drake as their pack leader and gain access to the artist's exclusive content and tips for planning their own Do Something 101 drives. With every member who joins their pack, the celebrities will donate $1 to Do Something 101, up to $5,000 per pack. At the end of the program, select winners will have a chance to meet their pack leader and receive autographed merchandise.

Visit www.staples.com/btspr for more back-to-school news, information and photos. For additional information on Staples EasyTech services, visit www.staples.com/techservices. See store for details for terms and conditions around the Extended Service Plan and $50 Trade-In promotion.

About Staples

Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media.

About BlogHer

Reaching more than 20 million women each month (Nielsen Site Census, March 2010), BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, BlogHer's mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. Today BlogHer creates opportunities for members via a community hub (www.blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency. BlogHer enjoys a strategic partnership with iVillage, part of Women@NBCU. BlogHer's investors are Venrock, GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund, and Azure Capital Partners.

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SOURCE: Staples

Tilson Communications
Jackie Guzman, 561-998-1995
jguzman@tilsonpr.com
or
Staples, Inc.
Karen Pevenstein, 508-253-0879
karen.pevenstein@staples.com