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News Release

National Survey Reveals More Than 40 Percent of Adults Have New Product Ideas Awaiting Discovery

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 3, 2003--

Potential Innovators Say Lack of Money, Direction and Time Leave Great Ideas Dormant; Staples Encourages Inventors to Submit Invention Quest(TM) Product Concepts

More than 40 percent of adults have had an idea for a new product or innovation, but most never even make it to the drawing board, according to a new national survey. Survey results released today by Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) reveal the most cited obstacles for bringing ideas to life are not having the money to invest (25%), not knowing where to start (23%), lack of time (22%) and thinking that the product would never make it on to store shelves (16%).

"It is amazing how many great ideas for products are waiting to be discovered," said Tom Stemberg, chairman and founder of Staples. "Of survey respondents with dormant ideas, 75 percent say lack of money, time and direction are to blame. Staples' Invention Quest(TM) removes these barriers and makes it easy to innovate."

To make it easy for inventors to overcome key obstacles to innovation, Staples introduced Invention Quest(TM) in September. The Invention Quest challenge is to discover the best idea for an office product that will make work life easier. Inventors have three weeks remaining to simply submit a short written description of their new product idea and compete for a $25,000 cash prize. The winner will also receive royalties if their product is manufactured and sold exclusively at Staples' 1,100 stores across the United States and at

How To Enter

An idea is all that is needed. A short entry form is available at, in Staples stores across the country, or by calling 1-800-333-3330. Ideas can be submitted through November 21, 2003 and the only cost is postage -- Staples handles all logistics. A minimum of one hundred semifinalists will be awarded a $100 Staples gift card. Twelve finalists will be selected by February 7, 2004 and receive a trip for two to New York City for the Invention Quest(TM) finals in March 2004. Eleven finalists will receive a $5,000 cash prize. At the finals, an expert panel of judges made up of inventors, entrepreneurs and office product experts will decide who walks away with a $25,000 prize and the possibility of royalties if their idea is created and sold exclusively by Staples. Additional media information is available at

The survey of 1,000 adults across the country was conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs on behalf of Staples, Inc. between October 21 and October 23.

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

CONTACT: Staples, Inc.
Deborah Hohler, 508-253-8509
Meara Murphy, 617-937-2574

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.