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News Release

Staples New Store Format Offers Customers an Improved Shopping Experience

FRAMINGHAM, MA (March 14, 2002) – Nearly a year after opening its first 81 “Dover” concept stores, office supply retailer Staples, Inc. announced it will open approximately 75 new stores and remodel an additional 125 stores to the “Dover” format during 2002. This brings the total number of “Dover” format stores to 281 or approximately 25% of the chain, by the end of 2002. Positive customer feedback, coupled with Staples ability to lower the remodel costs and a plan to improve asset utilization prompted the rollout of the Dover concept.

The “Dover” format is designed to better serve Staples' small business customers and technology power users, with its “customer-centric” retail model. Key enhancements include:

  • A race-track design that incorporates shorter aisles and lower fixture heights, improving customer sight lines and traffic flow;

  • Product categories that were grouped together in the store to offer our customers a higher level of service in those areas that need more assistance.

  • Improved signage that clearly marks each category, as well as enhanced product descriptions that allow customers to compare and contrast products within the same category;

  • An emphasis on cross merchandising, featuring logical product adjacencies that increase the “shopability” of the store (e.g. fax paper with the fax machines; data storage materials with business machines and software; ink cartridges and paper with printers);

  • A center aisle that brings new and seasonal items immediately in view for the customer;

  • Self-service Access Points kiosks located throughout the store that link customers to where they can access/purchase more than 45,000 SKUs, and gather in-depth product information.

The “Dover” format is anchored by Staples Signature Categories: Ink Cartridges, Build Your Own Computer, Digital Imaging, Paper, Furniture, Data Storage, Handhelds and the Copy Center. These category groupings make it easier for customers to locate the products they want, and reflect the increased demand among consumers for products that support today's technological advancements.

“Through market research, we learned that Staples customers no longer liked the warehouse look and feel,” explains Ed Harsant, President, Staples North America. “The ‘Dover' store format creates a selling space that is both attractive and easy to shop. However, our customers are not looking for shopability alone; value for their dollar is equally important. A new company-wide price program has recently been implemented, Staples 365 Savings. It is our pledge to provide customers with great low prices on quality products every day.”

Cost efficiencies are not only important to Staples customers, but to the Company, itself. Staples will be rolling out the Dover format stores as a 20,000 square foot prototype versus the previous prototype that was 24,000 square feet. This will allow a lower investment in fixtures and inventory, with a focus on the product categories that are relevant to our small business customers.

“With its new store format, Staples is organizing a solution center rather than just selling individual products,” says Paco Underhill, acclaimed author of Why We Buy: The Art and Science of Shopping, founder/Managing Director of Envirosell—a behavioral market research firm—and consultant to Staples. “One of the objectives of the ‘Dover' store format was to design a space that offered a better combination of service and self-service. Staples' associates can now provide a higher level of service in those areas that need it, and the new store format gives customers the tools to be self sufficient if they choose to browse on their own.”

The “Dover” concept is an integral component of Staples' “Back to Brighton” initiative. “Back to Brighton” reflects Staples return to its roots of serving small business customers, traditionally the most profitable market segment. The changes made to merchandising, marketing and customer service models under the “Back to Brighton” umbrella —all of which are demonstrated in the “Dover” store format—work together to deliver a superior shopping experience to Staples' key customers.

Staples, Inc. is an $11 billion retailer of office supplies, business services, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has more than 51,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,400 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. Log on to to find a store near you.

CONTACT: Jennifer Rosenberg
Staples, Inc.

Julie Mittelman
Staples, Inc.