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BACK Launches Business Solutions Center; Offers First Free, Fully Functional Intranet Service and Expands Online Service Strategy

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 1999--Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) today announced the launch of the first phase of its online Business Solutions Center to provide small businesses comprehensive, affordable services and informative content to help them run their offices more efficiently. As part of the launch, is offering customers free intranet service from HotOffice Technologies, Inc., (, that enables companies to harness the power of the Web through communication and collaboration tools including e-mail, document management and sharing, group calendar and contact manager and online conferences.

"The Business Solutions Center is the foundation of our plan to provide the largely underserved small business market with solutions for their every day business challenges," said Jeanne M. Lewis, president of "We're constantly communicating with our customers and evolving our business to anticipate the rapidly growing needs of small business."

The Staples Business Solutions Center provides customers with a one-stop resource for business services and related content, including articles from Inc. Magazine Online. The initial implementation includes the following services:



Office Services

-- Through the online Staples Copy Center, companies can send their

logos electronically and order customized letterhead, business

cards, shipping labels and Post-It(R) Notes. -- HotOffice's free private intranet provides small businesses with

     collaborative capabilities, including document management and
     sharing, group calendar and contact manager, online
     conferences, e-mail, bulletin boards and virtual access to their

     Internet Services
--   Internet domain name registration from
--   Easy-to-use Web site hosting and e-commerce site-building tools
     from Concentric Network Corporation.

     Financial Services
--   Comprehensive payroll and tax benefits solutions designed
     specifically for growing businesses from Staples' InterPay, a
     leading payroll processing company with over 25 years of

     Communications Services

-- Affordable long distance service from Staples Communications.

-- Cellular phones and service plans from that allow

customers to evaluate virtually every available phone and plan in

the top 50 U.S. metropolitan markets and buy online.



Launched in fall 1998, is Staples' e-commerce business unit that serves the home office and business customer via the Internet. The virtual store offers easy-to-use, customized features and intuitive functions to slash the cost and hassle of purchasing office supplies. 31,000 products are available on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers receive free delivery on all orders over $50 and next-business day delivery is available to most U.S. locations.

About Staples

Staples Inc. is a $7 billion retailer 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 today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has over 46,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,000 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at