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News Release Business Solutions Center Takes the Work Out of Running a Small Business
     FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 20, 2000--

      Enhanced Site Offers Most Comprehensive Online Resource for
     Small Business, Including More Than 20,000 Service Providers today announced significant enhancements to its Business Solutions Center to provide a comprehensive online resource for small business. New features and tools include an expanded selection of business services, including a request for quote (RFQ) purchasing option and additional Click and Buy partners, community features such as bulletin boards and expert advice, and editorial content.

"We're creating a virtual marketplace for small businesses with office products, services, content and community where users also have an opportunity to sell their own products and services to other customers," said Jeanne Lewis, president of "With our comprehensive group of Click and Buy partners, plus a competitive quote option, we've turned into a true destination for small business owners that are looking for a cost- and time-efficient way to run their offices."

Through a tightly integrated request for quote (RFQ) and Click-and-Buy purchasing process, small business customers now have access to more than 70 different types of services provided by over 20,000 sellers. After customers select a specific service they are interested in, they will be directed to a screen that will display a side-by-side comparison of the RFQ service and, where available, the Click and Buy partner offerings.

For the Click and Buy option, has hand-selected providers and leveraged the aggregated buying power of its customers to deliver high quality services at the lowest cost. The RFQ service, powered by, allows customers to identify their individual, customized service specifications and request competitive bids from a large number of sellers. Customers can easily compare quotes, vendor information and ratings by other buyers to help make purchasing decisions. The six business solution categories that encompass community features, editorial content, 70 different types of services and more than 20,000 providers, including both RFQ and Click and Buy are:

-- Sales & Marketing--includes Web-based Printing and Delivery, Mailing and Prospect Lists, and Translation Services;

-- Legal & Insurance--includes Finding an Attorney and Professional Liability and Group Health Care Insurance;

-- HR & Staffing--includes Payroll, Temporary Staffing and Recruiting Services;

-- Money Management--includes Tax Services, Leasing and Financing Options and Business Management Consulting;

-- Office Operations--includes Fleet Vehicles, Office Space and Business Cards and Letterhead; and

-- Technology & Communication--includes Long Distance, Virtual Office, and Voice and Data Network Services.

To assist small businesses in their purchasing decisions and provide them with additional tools to help them run their offices more efficiently, has added a number of content and community features to its Business Solutions Center that will be housed within the various service categories, including:

-- Small-business focused content from leading publications, such as Smart Money;

-- Community features, including bulletin boards for customer-to-customer interaction; and

-- An "Ask the Experts" column featuring professors, lawyers, business consultants and authors who are experts in the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

In a separate press release issued today, announced four new Click and Buy partners including:, which provides two-hour digital printing and delivery;, an ASP (application service provider) specializing in online PC security and maintenance; TaxLogic, an online professional tax preparation service; and CloudSource, a Web site developer. They will join's existing Click and Buy partners, Inc., Concentric Network Corp.,, Inc., HotOffice Technologies Inc.,,, Inc., and several Staples branded services, including payroll, communications and its copy center.

About is creating a leading business-to-business electronic marketplace offering a comprehensive solution for all of the office needs of business customers. currently provides an electronic marketplace where small, mid-sized and large businesses can procure office products and business services and obtain business information and expert content. Includes the operations of all three of Staples Inc.'s e-commerce sites,, and

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Staples, Inc.'s business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-Q for the most recently ended quarter.

     CONTACT: Media Contacts:
              Shannon Lapierre
              Staples Inc.
              Lynette Pitman
              Schwartz Communications
              Investor Contact:
              Bonnie Monahan
              Vice President of Investor Relations