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News Release

Staples Pilots New Small Business Technology Offerings Complete With Computer Networking Services, Build to Order Computers and More
WESTBOROUGH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 12, 1999--

    ...Unique Networking Services Offered in Partnership with CompuCom...
    ...Build to Order Business Computers With Compaq...

As part of the overall Staples strategy to address the technology needs of its small business customers, Staples is piloting a unique retail assortment of computer networking services, build to order computers, an assortment of high-speed printers and other technology products designed for small businesses. These products and services are available in 10 of its East Coast Staples superstores.

The new in-store concept brings together the latest business technology services from CompuCom Systems, Inc. and the convenience of Staples' office supplies superstore retail environment. Following the pilot period, Staples will evaluate how to expand the program to its network of more than 700 stores nationwide.

The 10 Staples stores currently offering these products include Bellingham, Mass., Hyannis, Mass., Brunswick, Maine, East Springfield, Mass., Pittsfield, Mass., Enfield, Conn., South Burlington, Vt., Berlin Corners, Vt., Saratoga Springs, N.Y and Latham, N.Y.

The new business technology offerings now available at Staples include:

--   Network design services featuring customized designs with network
     and cabling blueprints and a recommended list of equipment

--   Network installation services

--   On-site network upgrades and maintenance

--   On-site upgrades, installations and maintenance for desktop

--   Technology consulting

--   Remote administration for computers and networks

--   24-hour help desk

--   Business build-to-order computers featuring Compaq's DeskPro and
     Prosignia series. Proteva's build-to-order line is also

"One of the greatest challenges a small business faces is how to keep up with the speed of technology, especially if they grow from a one-person business to many employees in a short period of time," said Philo Pappas, senior vice president, office technology and computers, Staples. "This retail method is especially ideal for customers who might be unfamiliar with computer networking and technology and need a trusted partner like Staples to walk them through the process."

The target customer for Staples' new business technology offerings are small businesses with computer and computer system needs that range from a single PC to a fully built and serviced computer network for print and file sharing, Internet access and mobile computing.

In addition to the new high-speed printer assortment, Staples also is offering web design and web e-commerce packages.

The Compaq DeskPro and Prosignia Series are the featured build-to-order PCs for small businesses. Customers can custom configure their PC to their particular specifications, including selecting from a host of business software. The DeskPro and Prosignia lines are network-ready and Novell-certified and delivered to their door in eight to ten business days. Also available at Staples is the small business build to order line from Proteva.

The 24-hour help desk and these unique small business networking and PC offerings are ideal for any small business customer, regardless of their level of technology knowledge. The small business customer who already knows what they need can choose to buy from a wide selection of products and services including network installation services, on-site services and network-ready PCs. The customer who has a limited knowledge about computer networking can choose to have their work site surveyed by a CompuCom consultant who will outline the type of products and services they should purchase at Staples.

Specially-trained Staples associates will sell these products and services at the stores and CompuCom technicians will provide the technical services directly to the customer.

"At Staples, a small business owner can now buy unique networking services and other small business technology products with the same ease as buying any other product in our store. In the stores where we are piloting these products and services, we have a new section in our technology area devoted to small business services. With our friendly customer service and our guarantee of every day low prices, customers can easily make an important and informed decision on how to most effectively and cost efficiently redesign their small business' computer network," said Pappas.

Staples, Inc. is a $6 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and business from home based businesses to Fortune 50 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. 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 37,000 employees serving customers through more than 900 office superstores, e-commerce, mail order catalogs and contract business. More information about the company is available at

    CompuCom Systems, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a leading provider of network integration services and distributed desktop products for large corporate customers nationwide. More information can be found at

    Compaq Computer Corporation is the second largest computer company in the world and the largest global supplier of personal computers. More information can be found at

     CONTACT: Staples Media Relations 
              Christina Erridge
              (508) 424-7375