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News Release

Staples Inc. Invests $7 Million in
...Joint Marketing Agreement To Build E-commerce Business...

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 18, 1999-- Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS - news) today announced a strategic partnership with, one of the largest single domain name registration services on the Internet and one of five Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accredited test-bed registrars. As part of the agreement, Staples invested $7 million in and has formed an aggressive cross-marketing effort to help its small business customers initiate e-commerce activities and give them easy access to Web site registration.

``This agreement with, along with today's announcement of our partnership with, follows our strategy of growing the business by teaming with leading Web sites that reach our target business customer,'' said Staples Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas G. Stemberg. ``Registering a domain name is a company's first step to becoming e-commerce enabled and providing this service allows us to better serve our customers and slash the cost and hassle of running a business.''

The market for domain names is projected to grow at least 20 fold over the next four years, reaching more than 32 million new registrations and revenues in excess of $2 billion annually by 2002. The recent deregulation of the Internet's domain name and address management is expected to accelerate this growth.

``Since Staples also targets small- to medium-sized businesses, this partnership represents a tremendous growth opportunity for both companies,'' said President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Forman. ``In addition to cross promoting our services to one another's Internet customers, we will also have an opportunity to promote in Staples superstores.''

Through this cross-marketing effort, and will host links to one another's sites via a button hosted on their home pages and banner advertisements throughout the sites. In addition, visitors to will be able to link to through a link on's tool bar. Staples also will promote's service in its retail stores through marketing materials, and will soon be available on PCs in Staples' superstores, giving retail customers in-store access to offers customers the ability to register domain names with a wide array of top-level domain (TLD) extensions, including .com, .net, .org, .md, and .sh. The company's partners include GeoCities,, the Infoseek Corporation, USA.NET, First Data Corporation, iMALL,, Web Promote and Cybersource.

About is a division of Forman Interactive Corp. (FIC), a leading provider of Internet-based solutions and electronic commerce development tools for small- and medium-sized businesses. was ranked among the top 100 Web sites by PC Magazine in December 1998 and again in April 1999. Forman Interactive Corp. was founded in 1994 and is based in New York, N.Y.


Launched in the fall of 1998, is Staples' e-commerce business unit that serves the home office and small business customer via the Internet. The virtual store offers easy-to-use, customized features and intuitive functions to slash the cost and hassle out of purchasing office supplies. More than 6,000 products are available on and it is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers receive free delivery on all orders over $50 and next-business day delivery is available in most U.S. markets.

About Staples

Staples Inc. is a $7 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 44,000 employees serving customers through more than 960 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at

     Staples Inc.
     Diane Basile, 508/253-7963
     Director, Investor Relations
     Shannon Lapierre, 508/253-8468
     Manager, Public Relations
     Sascha Mornell, 212/798-9130
     Director of Marketing