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OPEN: The Small Business Network -SM- from American Express and Staples Announce New Alliance To Provide Savings to Small Business Customers

Saving on Routine Expenses Ranks as "Important" to Nearly 75% of Small Business; Most Would Invest These Savings Back Into the Businesses, According to New Survey

NEW YORK & BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 3, 2002-- OPEN: The Small Business Network announced today that Staples has joined its Everyday Savings program to provide its small business customers with an automatic 2% savings for office supply purchases made with an American Express(R) Business Card.

The discount is available on most purchases made at any of the more than 1,000 Staples retail locations, Staples.com or through Staples' Catalog in the U.S. The discount may be combined with other Staples promotion or coupon and will appear as a credit on American Express Business Cardmembers' monthly billing statements.

A new survey revealed that 72 percent of small business owners are focused on finding ways to reduce essential business expenses, including office supplies, shipping, computer equipment and gasoline. If able to cut these costs, nearly three quarters of respondents (73 percent) would invest the savings back into their business. The survey, sponsored by Staples and the OPEN Network, was conducted by telephone from August 12-23, 2002 by International Communications Research and included 507 small business owners/managers.

"Staples is a leader in serving small business and I am pleased to welcome them to the Everyday Savings program," said Lisa Wyler, vice president, partnerships, OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express. "Our alliance with Staples provides our small business customers with another opportunity to conveniently cut costs on routine business expenses and enhances what is already the strongest small business savings program in the marketplace."

"We are always looking for ways to bring added convenience and value to our small business customers," explains Anne-Marie Keane, Vice President of Small Business Marketing for Staples. "The OPEN Small Business Network from American Express shares Staples' commitment to helping small businesses save time and money, and we are pleased to announce this alliance."

Everyday Savings is an exclusive benefit of OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express that provides savings on everyday business expenses at recognized brands like Dell(TM), FedEx(R), Kinko's, Hertz, ExxonMobil, The Hilton(R) Family of Hotels and Qwest(R). In most cases, the savings occur automatically when a small business owner uses an American Express Business Card. For more details, visit open.americanexpress.com/everydaysavings.

About OPEN: The Small Business Network

OPEN: The Small Business Network is a division of American Express that offers small business owners a wide range of tools, services and savings designed to meet their evolving needs, including convenient access to working capital and credit information, instant decisioning on all card products and savings on business services from an enhanced lineup of OPEN Network partners. To obtain more information about the OPEN Network, visit OPEN.americanexpress.com or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. is an $11 billion retailer of office supplies, business services, 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 today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has approximately 53,000 associates 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.

CONTACT:

Tom Sclafani
American Express
212.640.0541
thomas.m.sclafani@aexp.com
or
Deborah Hohler
Staples, Inc.
508.253.8509
deborah.hohler@staples.com