Written by Mark Glutiner
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Topics: business, Writing

Sunday, 3 July 2005

image for Staples to market staplers
Stapler

In a surprise statement the US office supplies retailer Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) announced that it will discontinue its lines of electronics, writing instruments, paper wares and furniture and concentrate instead on its traditional core business which is staplers.

The enormous expansion in the volume of papers generated and stored in filing cabinets and archives created a new demand for ever more efficient and sophisticated ways to fasten sheets of papers together.

The move also came after Staples sales staff lodged complaints about diversity pains and fuzziness from the wide range of products on offer. Staples also hope to substantially reduce the cost of their catalogs, which will be reduced to a four-page flyer (in color).

At the same time the existing line of staplers has received significant makeovers. "Slamming, jammed staplers are problems of the past as the Staples branded stapler(TM) ($9.99) has the power of a staple gun and can staple through 20 sheets of paper with the touch of a finger" the statement said. New ergonomically designed staplers based on proven engineering concepts (see picture) will complement the existing range.

Staples will seek strategic alliances with manufacturers of staplers in the US and abroad and heavily invest in new technologies such as rear loading besides improving the existing open channel method. In addition to the conventional cohered or frozen wire staples Staples will also introduce polymer bonded carbon fiber reinforced staples for the military.

A mid-level marketing manager at their Boston, Mass. headquarters under the condition of anonymity declared, "Our competency clearly lies with staplers and we will expand this area to include value added items such as platinum plated and enameled staples (standard sizes only)."

Later this year Staples will also be offering specifically designed training courses for office staff in response to demands for streamlined machine-operator interaction. There will be 3 levels of proficiency. The highest level will include advanced stapler techniques such as replacing staples and removing twisted staples. Attendees will be presented with a certificate of achievement and a commemorative souvenir stapler.

Undisclosed sources tell us that the changes will not entail any staff redundancies among their 60,000 talented associates.

Shareholders cautiously applauded Staples' decision to set the new standard in the office supply industry and are now watching how competing retailers such as Office Max, Office Depot and Corporate Express will react to Staples' pioneering move.

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