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Staples, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2012 Performance

The company expects to generate more than $1 billion of free cash flow and plans to continue to repurchase its common stock through open-market purchases, which are expected to total approximately $450 million during 2012.

Presentation of Non-GAAP Information

This press release presents certain results with and without the impact of charges incurred during the third quarter of 2012 related to the impairment of goodwill and other assets, restructuring charges, accelerated tradename amortization, and the establishment of valuation allowances, net of tax benefits. This press release also presents certain results for 2011 and 2012 both with and without the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and the impact of a tax refund in 2011. The presentation of results that excludes these items, as well as the presentation of free cash flow, are non-GAAP financial measures that should be considered in addition to, and should not be considered superior to, or as a substitute for, the presentation of results determined in accordance with GAAP. Reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are provided in the accompanying tables of financial information. Management believes that the non-GAAP financial measures enable management and investors to understand and analyze the company’s performance by providing meaningful information relevant to certain events and foreign currency fluctuations that impact the comparability of underlying business results from period to period. Management has adjusted for impairment of goodwill and other assets, which relates to the company’s European retail and catalog businesses, and accelerated tradename amortization, which relates to rebranding of the company’s Australian business, because such charges are non-cash and because the timing and amount of such charges are inconsistent and cannot be predicted or planned for. Management has adjusted for restructuring charges, which relate to severance and other costs associated with European restructuring and the planned closure of retail stores in the U.S., and the establishment of valuation allowances, which relates to previously recorded deferred tax assets in the company’s European retail and catalog businesses, because the exclusion of such amounts facilitates the comparison of the company’s financial results to its historical operating results. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the operating results of the company’s business against prior year results and its operating plan, and to forecast and analyze future periods. Management recognizes there are limitations associated with the use of non-GAAP financial measures as they may reduce comparability with other companies that use different methods to calculate similar non-GAAP measures. Management generally compensates for the limitations resulting from the exclusion of these items by considering the impact of these items separately in GAAP as well as non-GAAP results. In addition, management presents the most comparable GAAP measures ahead of non-GAAP measures and provides a reconciliation that indicates and describes the adjustments made.

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