11.02.1998Corporate

Bell Atlantic, Staples Launch Retail Sales Program in Burgeoning Northeast Market


Bell Atlantic, Staples Launch Retail Sales Program in Burgeoning Northeast Market

299 Stores to Feature Bell Atlantic Telecommunications Services for Small Office/Home Office Market


November 2, 1998





Media
contact:

Jim Smith,
973-649-8850


Christina Erridge,
508-424-7375


NEW YORK -- Small office and home office (SOHO) "executives" in the
Northeast can now do one-stop shopping for office supplies, equipment
and telecommunications at Staples, the Office Superstore.

Bell Atlantic has entered the burgeoning small office retail market in
partnership with Staples, launching a rollout of local telecommunications

services at the chain's 299 stores from Maine to Virginia. Staples
shoppers, both business operators and consumers alike, will be able to
purchase useful services like voice messaging, Caller ID, additional lines
and other services with the help of trained Staples sales associates.

"Small business owners and home office operators can now buy the
telecommunications tools they need to boost productivity and project a
powerful image to their clients at the place they shop for other tools of the
office trade - Staples," said Bruce Gordon, group president-retail for Bell
Atlantic.

"Ordering the additional line they need for the computer or fax machine
they're buying or call management services that can power up a small
operation will be fast and easy at Staples," he said. "This is another
customer care initiative focusing on what works for customers, in this
case, selling our services where they're shopping for products."

"With this arrangement, Staples is rounding out its offering to include the
kinds of telecommunications services and equipment that our customers
need to succeed," said Doreen Romano, senior vice president of
merchandising for Staples. "The best retailers offer customers what they
need, and we think Staples shoppers will appreciate having this offering
from Bell Atlantic available in our stores."

The rollout, which is expected to take several weeks, caps a six-month
pilot that put Bell Atlantic products in 54 Staples stores in New England
and, later, in upstate New York.

Shoppers will find Bell Atlantic displays in Staples stores. As a face-to-
face sales channel for small office/home office buyers that complements
normal ordering processes, Staples associates will be prepared discuss the
services offered. Customers will take "plug and play" equipment home
with them and orders for supporting services will be forwarded to Bell
Atlantic for immediate processing.

According to Gordon, the opportunity to discuss services face-to-face has
proven popular during the pilot. When Staples customers are shopping for
their offices, they appreciate being able to shop for telecommunications
tools at the same time.

Staples, with more than 600 stores nationwide, holds a market share of
roughly 47 percent in the hot small office/home office market and has
more than $5 billion in sales to the tens of thousands of businesses with 20
or fewer employees and to the millions of customers setting up home
offices.

The Bell Atlantic services available at Staples (see attachment) represent
tools that boost productivity, efficiency and image. Many, for example,
have found that voice messaging with multiple mailboxes allows them to
direct calls to "departments," such as ordering, billing and inquiries.
Others find that features like Caller ID, coupled with voice mail, let them
save time by allowing them to prioritize calls.

The rollout of Bell Atlantic services is underway from New York south
through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia,
Washington, D.C., New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area.
Stores in upstate New York and New England are being re-tooled with
new Bell Atlantic displays to reinforce the program.



Bell Atlantic Services Available at Staples

    Additional lines

    Caller ID

    Distinctive Ring

    Call Waiting

    Call Forwarding

    Conference Calling

    Voice Mail



Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and eight
million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.