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Staples Declares July 8 as the Official Start of the 2008 Back-to-School Shopping Season

Staples Rings the "First Bell" to Signify the Start of Great Deals on Core School Supplies

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 8, 2008--Summer is here, and while teens are relaxing, parents are already thinking ahead to back to school. Unlike "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that signifies the start of the holiday shopping season, there is no "official" kick-off date for when back-to-school shopping starts - until today. Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), the world's largest office products company and top retail destination for back to school, declares July 8 as the official first day of the 2008 back-to-school shopping season. To commemorate the day, the company will open the NASDAQ market and sound the "First Bell" of the school supply shopping season.

"We analyzed historic trends and feedback from parents and schools, and added our in-depth knowledge of shopping patterns to determine the official start of the 2008 back-to-school season," said John Mahoney, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Staples, Inc. "Based on our more than 20 years of experience in the back-to-school supply industry, we can put a stake in the ground in a way that has never been done before. Schools begin opening their doors as early as July, and as a national retailer with a wide assortment of products at great prices, our goal is to make back to school shopping easy for parents and teens."

According to the 2008 Staples Back-to-School Survey, the overwhelming majority of moms plan ahead when shopping for back-to-school supplies, with 74 percent of moms shopping two weeks to a month before school starts. In addition, parents surveyed rank school supply shopping as one of the most high-stress shopping occasions, second only to holiday gift shopping. More than 70 percent of parents polled say they would welcome an official start for the back-to-school shopping season to help identify when they can expect to start finding supplies in stock. By establishing an official start to the back-to-school shopping season, Staples is giving parents a clear roadmap of where and when to find the best products and deals this season. More survey findings are available at http://www.staples.com/btspr.

"The back-to-school shopping season is a very important time for the retail industry. We have noticed that back-to-school shopping has been occurring earlier and earlier in the past few years, as consumers have been looking for bargains," said Erin Hershkowitz, spokesperson for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). "Back-to-school items tend to be viewed as more essential, and not discretionary, for the consumer, so they must, and will spend for these items."

This week, to launch the season, Staples is offering "First Bell" deals, including 2-pocket paper folders and 8/pack of #2 pencils for a penny, and 25 cent 1/2" and 1" poly-binders.

First Bell doesn't end there. It's not just a signal to shoppers, but also a message to teenagers to make a difference this summer. Now through August 31st, Staples and DoSomething.org, with the help from pop star and American Idol(TM) winner, Jordin Sparks, are encouraging teens to collect school supplies and drop them off at their nearest Staples store as part of its Do Something 101 campaign. Staples customers can also take part in the summer activities by adding extra school supplies to their shopping cart to drop in the collection bin or by donating $2 in any Staples store, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting local teens in need.

Representatives and youth from DoSomething.org, the organization that empowers teens to take action in their communities, will join Staples at the "First Bell" ringing. In addition, Staples will help make a difference with a $50,000 kick-start donation of school supplies to the Do Something 101 campaign.

    Visit www.staples.com/btspr for even more news and photos.

    About the Survey

The survey was developed by Staples and conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc. in Arlington, TX. Decision Analyst surveyed by Internet a nationally representative random sample of 304 moms. All respondents were members of American Consumer Opinion(R) online, Decision Analyst's proprietary Internet based consumer-opinion panel with over 7,000,000 members globally. Such a sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information about American Consumer Opinion(R) online please visit www.acop.com.

About DoSomething.org

Do Something believes teenagers have the power to make a difference. We leverage communications technologies to enable teens to convert their ideas and energy into positive action. We inspire, empower and celebrate a generation of doers: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. Plug in at www.dosomething.org.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products company. With 76,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2007 sales of $19.4 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 22 countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at www.staples.com.

CONTACT: Tilson Communications
Tracy Tilson, 561-998-1995
ttilson@tilsonpr.com
or
Staples, Inc.
Katie Sullivan, 508-253-0879
katie.sullivan@staples.com

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.