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Survey shows Canadian small businesses more confident about themselves than Canadian economy


April 6, 2009
By Canadian Vending

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Survey shows Canadian small businesses more confident about themselves than Canadian economy
An Angus Reid Strategies survey of Canadian small businesses commissioned by Staples Canada has determined that small businesses have more confidence in their own operations than they do in the Canadian economy.

An Angus Reid Strategies survey of Canadian small businesses commissioned by STAPLES Canada has determined that small businesses have more confidence in their own operations than they do in the Canadian economy. Over half (58%) of Canadian small businesses expect to see some improvement in their businesses over the next 6 months.

More than two-thirds (70%) of Canadian small businesses rate their own financial status as good and only a third (30%) as poor. Conversely, two-thirds (66%) of Canadian small businesses consider the economic conditions in Canada to be poor while only a third (32%) think that conditions are good.

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"The results of the STAPLES Canada Small Business National Quarterly Confidence Poll are very thought provoking. Not so much that there is scepticism when it comes to the Canadian economy, but that there is such optimism for small business potential," said Steve Matyas, president of STAPLES Canada. "At STAPLES, we believe that much can be learned from what small businesses see as challenges and potential opportunities because we recognize that many of them are very adaptable during the current economic slowdown."

"Small business owners tend to be able to react quickly to economic conditions, have largely cash flow positive businesses and in general a 'can-do' attitude" says Brian Coupland, Director of Small Business Strategy, STAPLES Canada. "This adaptability not only refers to fiscal matters, but to the overall strategic business model that a small business operates from-such as finding new and unique revenue streams and creative ways to cut costs."

The top three challenges that Canadian small businesses are currently facing are business development/sales (60%), reducing costs/expenses (58%) and setting pricing to maintain profitability (47%). Not too surprisingly, the primary ways that Canadian small businesses have adjusted over the past three months were to cut costs (55%) and expand business offerings (29%).

Recognizing the challenges of Canadian small businesses, STAPLES has several initiatives to help them compete and maintain legitimacy including STAPLES BizLaunch Seminars-a series of National 'how-to' sessions aimed at topics pertinent to small businesses.

The STAPLES Canada Small Business National Quarterly Confidence Poll will
be conducted quarterly in order to gauge:

    –   Shifting perceptions of the Canadian economy;
    –   The self-confidence and optimism of Canadian small businesses; and,
    –   Any changes in how Canadian small businesses are adjusting to economic conditions.

"By conducting this poll quarterly we will be able to establish some key indices on the status of Canadian small businesses. We will be able to monitor changes in their confidence in the economy, their view of the business opportunities they have and the things they are doing to adjust to the economy," continued Matyas.

The study was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies through online interviews with owners and executives of small businesses (up to 50 full-time employees) across Canada. 352 interviews were completed in total, from March 13-22, 2009.

For more information on how STAPLES Canada can help small businesses, please visit staples.ca and click on Business Services.

About STAPLES Business Depot
Founded in Toronto in 1991, STAPLES Business Depot is Canada's largest supplier of office supplies, business machines, office furniture and business services for the small business and home office customer. The company is an everyday low price retailer, operating stores in every province across Canada under the banners STAPLES(R) Business Depot(TM) and Bureau en Gros(MC). The company employs over 13,500 associates serving customers through more than 280 office superstores, catalogue, and e-commerce. STAPLES(R) Business Depot(TM)/Bureau en Gros(MC) is committed to making shopping easy by offering customers three ways to shop: online, by catalogue and in-store. More information is available at www.staples.ca

About Staples Inc.
Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2008 sales of $23 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples serves businesses of all sizes and consumers in 27 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In July 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express, one of the world's leading suppliers of office products to businesses and institutions. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and is headquartered outside Boston. More information about Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com

For further information: Sarah Daly, Lisa Richards, Veritas
Communications, (416) 955-4583, (416) 955-4586, daly@veritascanada.com,
richards@veritascanada.com; Rachel Swiednicki, Public Relations Specialist,
STAPLES/Bureau en Gros, (905) 737-1147 x 2714, rachel.swiednicki@staples.ca