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Staples Strengthens First-Tier Supplier Diversity Program With E-Commerce Solution

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Oct 27, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) today announced an expanded commitment to its First-Tier supplier diversity partner program by launching an e-commerce solution that enables minority- and women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) suppliers to meet the MWBE spending goals of Fortune 500 and other business customers.

The e-commerce solution, Staples eDiversity Marketplace(SM), is the latest development in Staples' First-Tier supplier diversity partner program. This innovative First-Tier program leverages the strengths of a value-added network of highly respected MWBE office supply providers, providing customers with the service and scope they require from a national MWBE program. In addition, the program is based on Staples' commitment to lowest total delivered cost whereby Staples collaborates with customers and partners to identify the true costs of transactions and then drive those costs out of procurement programs. Staples' charter First-Tier supplier partners are Alpha Office Supplies, Proftech Office Products and Tejas Office Products.

"As MWBE spending continues to be an important part of procurement for large companies, they increasingly require capabilities like robust e-commerce from MWBE suppliers," said Jim Dorman, vice president of marketing and sales administration for Staples Contract Division. "However, MWBE suppliers often face challenges in meeting these requirements. Staples' next-generation supplier diversity program bridges this gap - addressing customers' needs by further enabling our diversity suppliers. Customers will receive the same level of service and lowest total delivered cost programs that they've come to expect from Staples and a diversity program that's scalable to meet their future MWBE product and service needs."

"The continued dramatic growth in utilization of Minority Business Enterprises by major corporations reflects increased understanding of the competitive, strategic advantage of supplier diversity to major corporations and the growing value-add MBEs bring to supplier performance and the bottom line," said Richard Huebner, executive director of the Houston Minority Business Council. "Emerging marketplace demands require new solutions. Staples and their MBE teaming partners help ensure the customer of best-in-class service at the lowest possible cost and with meaningful minority business participation."

"Staples has provided Tejas with tremendous support in building our business, including overall business mentorship, account management knowledge and operational excellence," said Lupe Fraga, president and CEO of Tejas Office Products, Houston, Texas. "Growing from this foundation, we realized that we must answer the sophisticated e-commerce needs of our large-company customers and do so with our small business resources. We'll be able to do that better with Staples' eDiversity Marketplace system and their expertise in e-commerce consulting and execution."

About Staples First-Tier Diversity Partner Program

Staples partners with MWBEs that have demonstrated commitments to minority business development and to their local communities. Staples worked closely with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and local councils to develop this innovative program that also helps keep business dollars within partners' local communities. Partner suppliers benefit from Staples' business mentorship, total cost management expertise, industry-leading account management, e-commerce expertise and nationwide distribution and fulfillment services. Based on requirements, Staples and its First-Tier Partners work with customers to develop an MWBE office supply program that provides sales support, customer service, billing/invoicing, delivery and account services.

About Staples Contract

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 procurement programs with lowest total delivered cost.

About Staples, Inc.

Staples, Inc. is headquartered outside of Boston and sells a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2002 sales of $11.6 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 58,000 associates serve consumers and businesses of all sizes - from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Staples invented the office superstore concept and today, with approximately 1,500 office superstores, is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. Staples also serves its customers through its mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.

Staples, Inc.
Owen Davis, 508-253-8468