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News Release

Staples Inc. Acquires European Office Supply Companies
    Business Editors

    FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 11, 1999--

    Enhances German Operations and Expands to Two New Countries

    Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire three European office supply companies -- Sigma Burowelt in Germany, Office Centre in the Netherlands, and Office Centre in Portugal. The acquisition will expand the company's European presence to 120 superstores.

"This acquisition gives us established retail locations in two new countries, and will enhance our current operations in Germany," said Joseph S. Vassalluzzo, president of Staples Realty and Development. "The European office supplies superstore marketplace holds tremendous growth opportunities. We estimate that Europe currently can support approximately 2,000 office superstores, with the market for office supplies growing at about eight percent annually."

The agreement is subject to appropriate regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase, and the company anticipates no material near-term impact from this transaction.

Staples will acquire 41 office supply superstores through the acquisitions, including 15 stores in Germany, bringing Staples' total number of German stores to 41. In addition, Staples will enter operations in two new countries by acquiring 21 superstores in the Netherlands and five superstores in Portugal. Additionally, Staples currently operates 53 stores in the United Kingdom.

"In addition to obtaining these store locations, we also are gaining the regional expertise and superior talent of the companies' existing management," said Ronald L. Sargent, president and chief operating officer of Staples. "The senior managers of the three companies, Theo van Brandenburg of Office Centre in the Netherlands; Carlos Maia of Office Centre in Portugal; and Klaus Uhl, Sven Dilba and Jurgen Sander of Sigma in Germany, have all signed agreements to join the Staples team. This should further strengthen our existing European infrastructure already in place."

The three companies are one-stop shopping superstore concepts, focusing on every day low pricing on a wide assortment of office supplies. Office Centre in the Netherlands is a business-only, cash-and-carry format office supply superstore. The merchandise assortment of the stores is similar to Staples' existing European retail operations, and they target small business customers.

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 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 1,000 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at


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              Staples Inc.
              Shannon Lapierre, 508/253-8468
              Public Relations Manager
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              Staples Inc.
              Catherine Woods, 508/253-7342
              Investor Relations Manager