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News Release

Staples, Inc. To Initiate First-Ever Cash Dividend and Commence Stock Repurchase Program

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 4, 2004--Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced today it will initiate an annual cash dividend. The first dividend of $0.20 per share of outstanding common stock will be payable on May 17, 2004, to shareholders of record on April 26, 2004.

The company also announced its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $1 billion of its common stock over the next two years. The company expects to repurchase approximately $400 million of the authorized shares in 2004, in open market or privately negotiated transactions.

The timing and amount of any shares repurchased will be determined by the company's management based on its evaluation of market conditions and other factors. Repurchases may also be made under a Rule 10b5-1 plan, which would permit shares to be repurchased when the company might otherwise be precluded from doing so under insider trading laws. The repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time. Any repurchased shares will be available for use in connection with the company's stock plans and for other corporate purposes.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. is headquartered outside of Boston and sells a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2003 sales of $13.2 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 60,000 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 1,600 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 www.staples.com.

Certain information contained in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to: our market is highly competitive and we may not continue to compete successfully; we may be unable to continue to open new stores successfully; our growth may continue to strain operations, which could adversely affect our business and financial results; our operating results may be impacted by changes in the economy; our stock price may fluctuate based on market expectations; our quarterly operating results are subject to significant fluctuation and are impacted by the extent to which sales in new stores result in the loss of sales in existing stores, the mix of products sold, pricing actions of competitors, the level of advertising and promotional expenses and seasonality; our expanding international operations expose us to the unique risks inherent in foreign operations; our debt level and operating lease commitments could impact our ability to obtain future financing and continue our growth strategy; a California wage and hour class action lawsuit; and those other factors discussed in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 31, 2004, which we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this morning, and any subsequent periodic reports filed by us with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our estimates only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our estimates as of any subsequent date. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if our estimates change.

CONTACT: Staples, Inc.
Media Contact:
Paul Capelli, 508-253-8530
Investor Contact:
Laurel Lefebvre/Katy Nash
508-253-4080/7342