IBM Supercomputer to Power Information Warehouse for Staples; Heir to 'Deep Blue' Will Help Office Product Retailer Analyze Operations More Efficiently

    ARMONK, N.Y.-- Feb. 14, 2001--IBM today announced that Staples Inc., (NASDAQ: SPLS), the pioneer of the office superstore industry, will deploy a powerful IBM SP supercomputer in a new enterprise data warehouse.
    The solution helps integrate merchandising information across Staples' business channels, which will strengthen the retailer's ability to identify emerging retail trends, manage business operations more effectively and maximize revenue generation.
    The $9 billion company, a leader in the competitive office supply industry, decided to extend its data warehouse to merge information from several databases and make it available from a single repository. The system will contain all the information generated by the company's various online and offline businesses. With the information consolidated, Staples will be able to run sophisticated data analyses, giving the company unprecedented insight into its enterprise data.

    IBM Hardware and Software -- Unmatched Scalability

    The heart of the solution is 64-processor IBM SP supercomputer, which is similar to the "Deep Blue" machine that defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The SP -- a parallel computing system comprised of up to 512 separate computers, or "nodes" -- provides the extreme scalability necessary for large data warehouses.
    Staples' SP supercomputer runs proprietary decision support applications that sit atop IBM's DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Extended Edition. Data is stored on four terabytes of IBM SSA disk and is backed up daily by Tivoli Storage Manager onto IBM 3590 tape drives.
    "The IBM SP supercomputer and DB2 Universal Database give us a solid, scalable foundation on which to build a sophisticated business tool to manage information across all Staples' channels," said David Barclay, Staples vice president of information systems. "We evaluated hardware from other vendors, but felt they could not match the performance and scalability demanded by our business users."

    A Vital Decision-Support Tool

    The data warehouse will be initially rolled out to Staples' merchandising department. Ultimately, the system will become a vital decision-support tool used throughout the company to assist supply chain, inventory management and marketing initiatives.
    "IBM's supercomputing technology is used by some of the world's most prominent companies to give them the edge they need in a competitive business environment," said Mike Kerr, vice president of products, IBM eServer. "We are very proud to be working with Staples to help them meet their corporate goals."
    The new data warehouse is the latest addition of IBM technology into Staples' IT infrastructure. The company also relies on IBM RS/6000, AS/400 and Netfinity servers for a variety of key business operations.

    About Staples Inc.

    Staples Inc., (NASDAQ:SPLS), is a $9 billion provider of office supplies, furniture, technology and services to consumers and businesses of all sizes in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered near Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has 50,000 employees who help customers slash the cost and hassle of running their businesses through more than 1,200 retail superstores, an e-commerce business, direct mail order operations under the brands of Staples and subsidiary Quill Corporation, and a national accounts contract business. More information about the company is available at

    About IBM

    IBM is the number one server vendor in the world. For more information, visit the IBM servers Web site at

    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 various important factors including risks related to Staples' ability to compete in its highly competitive market, Staples' ability to continue to successfully open new stores, Staples' quarterly operating results being subject to significant fluctuation, Staples' stock price fluctuating based on the expectations of professional securities analysts, the strain on operations due to Staples' rapid growth which can affect operating results, the ability of Staples' foreign operations and to become profitable and the ability of Staples to obtain adequate future financing. Additional information concerning these factors is contained in Staples' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q dated September 11, 2000, which is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


             John Buscemi, 914/766-4495 
             Staples Inc.
             Jennifer Rosenberg, 508/253-7375