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Press release from Business Wire

Small Business Owners Forecast a Warm Summer According to Staples Small Business Index

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>Majority of owners plan to go on vacation and are preparing for growth for the rest of 2012</i> </p>

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Small Business Owners Forecast a Warm Summer According to Staples Small Business Index07:55 EDT Thursday, June 28, 2012 FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (Business Wire) -- Summer is officially underway, and small businesses report that they are already feeling the heat -- in a good way. More than half (55 percent) of small business owners and managers see their businesses as “heating up” and expect business to grow over the rest of the year, according to a survey conducted by Staples, Inc. Many small businesses surveyed continue to feel more confident, with 70 percent reporting that they are planning to make changes that position themselves for growth, and nearly 40 percent of those surveyed are looking to increase marketing communications for the rest of the year. In another indicator of the mindset of small businesses, a majority of owners responded that they feel comfortable leaving the office for a traditional vacation. More than half surveyed are planning summer vacation this year (67 percent), with 89 percent planning to leave town, instead of taking a “staycation” at home. Technology certainly makes this easy, with more than half planning to use laptops or other electronic devices to stay connected. “We are pleased that small businesses are taking time to enjoy the summer and are glad that our small business customers are feeling more optimistic,” said Alison Corcoran, senior vice president of retail marketing for Staples. Game OnWith the weather heating up and the summer games around the corner, owners feel that running a small business can be similar to training for elite competition. In fact, many small business owners feel ready for competition in their own “Small Business Summer Games” and compare themselves to the following athletes: Marathon Runner (33 percent): steady and focused with a strategy to win Synchronized Swimmer (18 percent): organized, consistent and harmonized Swimmer (17 percent): dive right into projects with an emphasis on speed and results Track Runner (17 percent): constantly jumping over hurdles to cross the finish line Gymnast (15 percent): agile, knowing how to tumble and land on their feet Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of those surveyed believe that their company would win a medal, with nearly 40 percent confident they would take home gold or silver. Corcoran added “the diversity of talent in small businesses gives me the confidence that they are ready to compete and finish the year at the top of their game.” As a trusted resource for small businesses, Staples conducted the survey to stay in touch with what small businesses are feeling and thinking heading into the second half of 2012. Staples makes it easy for small businesses to grow by offering the latest in office solutions, technology and products. About the SurveyThe survey was developed by Staples and conducted by Decision Analyst, Inc. in Arlington, Texas. Decision Analyst surveyed by Internet a nationally-representative random sample of 501 owners and executives of American businesses having no more than 20 employees. All respondents were members of American Consumer Opinion® online, Decision Analyst's proprietary Internet based consumer-opinion panel with more than 8,500,000 members globally. Interviews were conducted from May 10-15, 2012. Such a sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information about American Consumer Opinion® online please visit www.acop.com. About StaplesStaples is the world's largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions. The company provides products, services and expertise in office supplies, copy & print, technology, facilities and breakroom, and furniture. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and now has annual sales of $25 billion, ranking second in the world in eCommerce sales. With 88,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, making it easy for businesses of all sizes, and consumers. The company is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com/media. Follow Staples on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/staples and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/staples. Staples, Inc.Karen Pevenstein, 508-253-0879karen.pevenstein@staples.comorCarrie McElwee, 508-253-1405carrie.mcelwee@staples.com