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News Release

The Back-to-School Buzz From Staples
    Business Editors and Features/Education Writers

    FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE FEATURES)--July 14, 1999--It's the last back-to-school season of the decade and students of all ages are revving up their shopping lists to get them to the millennium in style.

The back-to-school experts at Staples say that this year's hottest school supplies have a bold new twist in color, texture and style. Binders, notebooks and even lunchbags are influenced by the more than 60 million students who fit into Generation Y, follow the fashion trends and respond to anything "extreme." Here are the trends to watch for:

1. "Fruit" and "Ice" colors are in. Strawberry, blueberry, grape and lime describe the latest color trends in school supplies, especially in plastic file boxes, binders, pens and magazine files. Newell's Box Office and Whatchamabox and Iris' Project Clear Case are predicted to be big hits this year. Storex has introduced a unique line of DuraTech heavy-duty plastic binders with a special pullout handle, available in frosted colors including fuschia and teal blue. Fruity colors are also appearing in phones by V-tech, with colors as scrumptious as cherry and sour apple.

2. Fake fur: The fabric for fall. Can you say pre-teen chic? Funky, fashionable and sure to make a statement in class, fake fur-covered assignment books, planners and pencil pouches make school supplies a fun fashion accessory. Norcom makes a wide array of products in retro-colored solids and animal prints.

3. Generation Y makes a statement in licensed products. Look out for Gen Y influences to appear on shelves this fall, including notebooks, assignment books and two-pocket portfolios from Stuart Hall sporting ESPN's X-games, Looney Tunes and even MTV. Not only is Star Wars a hit at the box office, but Darth Maul, Jar Jar and Queen Amidala make their appearance on a whole host of back-to-school products this year, including pens and pencils by Pentech, calendars and planners from DayRunner and notebooks and two-pocket folders from Impact.

4. Gel inks make writing fun. Gel ink glides onto paper and is the latest way students can capture their thoughts in vibrant color. Look for Sanford's Unigel line of pens, available in bright colors and ergonomic designs. Milkey pastel-colored gel ink pens by Pentel should also be popular this fall.

5. Highlighters have new "dry" technology. Reselling college textbooks just got easier. The new dry highlighter by Manco allows students to highlight text and erase without damaging the page. Sanford's popular Liquid Accent highlighters are back again this fall and feature a unique ink cartridge that's visible through a clear plastic window.

6. Binders that show off your personality. Avery's new line of viewbinders offers students the ability to slide photographs and mementos over a background of fun camouflage, butterflies and 70's "flower power" patterns. The new, non-stick overlay allows kids to personalize their binders without the worry of photographs sticking to the plastic.

7. Lunchbags for the urban trailblazer. Lunchbags have gone from plain to sporty and the latest designs from Roundhouse resemble a mini-backpack, complete with thick glaciertherm insulation and rugged tear-resistant material. Glacier Gear lunchbags come in bright blue, red and green, and are perfect for the student looking for a stylish yet functional accessory.

8. Portable phones make keeping one phone number all four years of college a reality. Digital phones have never been more convenient to carry or affordable to own as this year's selections from Nokia. The 5100 Series phones offer great quality and a convenient alternative to sharing the phone with a dorm mate. Special attachable face plates spice it up with a splash of color.

9. Student desks made with computers in mind. Computer workstations are more popular than ever for the Internet-surfing student. They are sleeker, lighter and more ergonomic than the typical dorm room setup. The Malibu workstation by Studio is the latest package that offers a workstation, slide out keyboard shelf, printer shelf, storage hutch and adjustable chair.

10. Calculators that can be upgraded in a flash. The new "Flash" technology from Texas Instruments is one of the newest trends in the calculator category. With the new TI-83 Plus, students can upgrade the calculator through the computer. The TI-73, the first graphing calculator geared towards junior high curriculum, is also sure to be a hit. If memory is a key requirement, Casio's 9850 offers more than 32 KB of memory and is a great value.

11. Computer monitors grow in size and affordability. A great accessory for the student who wants a bigger screen size for school work and Internet surfing. The 17" and 19" monitors by Sony are more affordable than ever.

12. Productivity software enters the college market. Share info and projects with classmates and professors through your own Intranet study group. Make eye-catching A+ quality class presentations. Streamline your databases. Microsoft's latest hot seller, Office 2000, is not just for the busy professional but makes a great software solution for students.

Staples Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses 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 980 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at http://www.staples.com.

     --30--sb/bos*

     CONTACT: Staples, Inc.                     
              Christina Erridge, (508) 253-7375 
              christina.erridge@staples.com     
              
     KEYWORD: MASSACHUSETTS 
     INDUSTRY KEYWORD: EDUCATION