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Staples Launches New Version of B-to-B Procurement Web Site; StaplesLink 4.0 Delivers Easy Customer Experience

70 Percent of Staples Contract Division Orders Now Transacted Online

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Feb 18, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) today launched a new version of, the business-to-business procurement Web site that drives 70 percent of Staples Contract Division orders. Built on a new technology platform, StaplesLink 4.0 enables corporate customers to more easily manage cost-effective procurement programs.

StaplesLink 4.0 is part of Staples' ongoing commitment to developing innovative programs that drive cost out of the procurement process. StaplesLink, a leading procurement Web site in its industry, now drives 95 percent of new customers to transact online. The Web site is a key factor behind the dramatic success of Staples Contract Division, which is consistently outpacing competitors in customer acquisition with 8,400 new customers in the first three quarters of FY2002 alone. Currently, StaplesLink is relied upon by nearly 20,000 medium- to large-sized organizations, including many of the Fortune 1000, and 4.2 million end users. The new Web site is built on IBM's new WebSphere Commerce Business Edition platform for top performance and scalability.

"Staples works closely with us to plan and implement a cost-effective program, and StaplesLink is key to realizing our goals," said Marianne Goodman, manager of travel and purchasing services at Boston-based Keane, Inc. "With today's business environment demanding greater cost efficiencies, StaplesLink 4.0 provides the management tools for purchasing professionals and the functionality for end-users to effectively manage expenditures."

"Taking time and cost out of the procurement process is our customers' top priority and StaplesLink 4.0 does just that," said Lisa Hamblet, vice president, B-to-B e-commerce for Staples Contract Division. "The new ease-of-use features and order management functionality will make purchasing more cost-effective today and well into the future for our growing number of customers."

"By leveraging online sales technologies and proactive change management, Staples enables customers to approach procurement differently and more efficiently," said Kent Allen, research director, e-Business/CRM with Aberdeen Group. "Staples collaborates with customers to zero in on the true costs of transactions and then drive the costs out of their procurement programs. The growing number of customers using StaplesLink speaks to how this b-to-b procurement solution is enabling customers to efficiently drive out those costs."

New StaplesLink 4.0 ease and efficiency features include: -- Navigational efficiencies - the entire site "look and feel" is streamlined with navigational enhancements based on direct customer input and usability analysis. In addition, customers can customize the site with their company's own logo. -- Enhanced order management - all orders--whether placed via phone, fax or online--can be easily tracked by purchasing managers in one location. In addition, returns can be quickly placed online. -- Powerful search filters - in addition to searching for product types among 80,000 products, users can quickly find a wide range of recycled content products as well as items supplied by minority and/or women-owned businesses. -- New administrative functions - enhanced user profile pages enable supervisors and administrators to easily create and modify user profiles. Spending reports now include all orders, regardless of order method, and are viewable by order method, budget center or date. -- Staples at Work resource center - in one comprehensive resource page, users can quickly access information about their company's program with Staples Contract. For example, users can learn how to save time and money through more efficient ordering practices, track their orders, and learn how Staples retail stores are networked with their program, providing convenient access for last-minute product and copy center needs. About Staples Contract Division

Staples Contract provides office supply solutions to medium- and large-sized organizations, including many Fortune 500 companies. The business, with industry-leading double-digit growth, works collaboratively with its customers enabling procurement professionals to efficiently manage highly cost-effective custom procurement programs.

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, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, 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 55,000 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

Staples, Inc.
Owen Davis, 508/253-8468
Nicole Fachet, 212/213-7140