Thursday, July 13, 2006

Staples Strives For Innovation

Staples has a contest called InventionQuest. Winners of the annual contest receive $25,000 and up to an 8% royalty. The annual contest is in its third year and continues to attact investors from across the country. People submit ideas for improving office products. The contest is part of a broad effort by Staples make a stable of exclusive products to differentiate its own-brand line from those of competitors.

Staple's also got a boost after providing to pay for judges on an episode of the Donald Trump show, "The Apprentice." Contestant's on the show developed a useful desk organizer. The winning product went on Staple's shelves the next day and quickly sold out.

Staples brand products, which carry a higher profit margin than other goods, accounted for 18% of Staple's $16.08 billion in revenue last year. Cheif executive Ron Sargent says he expects that to rise to 20% this year. Mr. Sargent says his ambition is to make the chain's own products "the top national office products brand."

Bulkeley, William M. "Got a Better Letter Opener?" Wall Street Journal. Page B1. Thursday, July 14, 2006.

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