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News Release

Staples Makes Strategic Investment in PaperExchange.com

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 2000--Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) today announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with PaperExchange.com, Inc., a global e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry. Staples has made an initial one percent investment in the privately held company and has agreed to purchase a portion of its office paper requirements on PaperExchange.com

"PaperExchange.com is revolutionizing paper purchasing," said Thomas G. Stemberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Staples Inc. "The site conveniently connects PaperExchange.com members with other buyers and sellers worldwide, opening the door for new vendor relationships. Paper is a critical component of our overall product offerings and this agreement helps ensure that we can purchase the lowest cost paper possible and pass those savings along to our customers."

PaperExchange.com enables buyers and sellers to specify, source and purchase all major grades of pulp and paper, including containerboard, paperboard, newsprint and fine paper. Members directly transact with one another through a bidding process on PaperExchange.com's online Trading Floor. The centralized, Web-based process reduces search time and overall transaction costs incurred in traditional paper purchasing. The company also provides logistics and credit services, and facilitates the buying and selling of paper industry equipment, such as converting machines.

About PaperExchange.com

PaperExchange.com is a leading global e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry. A global e-business trading tool designed by the paper industry for the paper industry, PaperExchange.com has members in more than 75 countries. All paper is bought and sold by members through private, secured transactions. PaperExchange.com does not share its member list or transaction information. The proven PaperExchange.com model delivers new levels of efficiency, convenience, choice and flexibility to the pulp and paper industry. PaperExchange.com today generates complete transactions in all major grades of paper. PaperExchange.com is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. For more information, visit the website at www.paperexchange.com or call 617-536-4310.

About Staples Inc.

Staples Inc. is a $9 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, 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 over 46,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,100 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business.

     CONTACT: Staples Inc.
              Bonnie Monahan
              Vice President of Investor Relations
              508-253-7963
              bonnie.monahan@staples.com
              or
              Shannon Lapierre
              Public Relations Manager
              508-253-8468
              shannon.lapierre@staples.com