Office Depot joins Supplier Connection, a group of 15 large businesses dedicated to driving U.S. small-business growth by simplifying access to large companies' global supply chains

BOCA RATON, Florida , April 10, 2012 (press release) – Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP), a leading global provider of office supplies and services that helps customers save time, today announced it has joined Supplier Connection, a group of 15 large businesses committed to driving small business growth by simplifying access to their global supply chains.

Supplier Connection streamlines the application process for small businesses seeking to become suppliers to the group. Through the web-based portal, small businesses have the opportunity to present their goods and services to many large enterprises with the goal of winning contracts, expanding business and creating jobs. In addition to its one-stop registration capabilities, the website enables small suppliers to learn from, collaborate with, and sell to each other so that they can become more competitive and successful in a bid with a large company.

“As an integral part of our diverse supply chain, it’s very important for Office Depot to help small businesses succeed,” said Brent Beabout, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain for Office Depot. “By joining Supplier Connection, we are providing an easy way for small businesses to tell us about their products and services, so that they can potentially grow their business and ours.”

Office Depot already has several small businesses in its supply chain, including women-owned Neutral Posture, a company that manufactures, markets and distributes ergonomic chairs for computer users and other office employees; and Arbill, a distributor of personal protective equipment, supplies and apparel. The Company also hosts match-making sessions throughout the year to help promote the connection of small businesses to large companies.

The Supplier Connection program is maintained by IBM through a grant of more than $10 million from the IBM International Foundation. The program is free for both small and large businesses.

“The challenge of providing economic opportunities and spurring job growth requires much more than the efforts of any one company, or even one industry,” said Stanley S. Litow, President of the IBM International Foundation. “With 15 companies and a global supply chain spend of more than $300 billion, Supplier Connection has become an innovative platform to help accelerate small business growth and jobs in the United States.”

Office Depot works diligently to achieve the goals of the Company’s Supply Chain Diversity Program, which is comprised of three dimensions: Supplier Diversity, Vendor Diversity and Tier One partnerships. Joining Supplier Connection is another way for Office Depot to form strong partnerships with Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs), and ensure that HUBs are well represented in the Company’s product assortment. For more information on Office Depot’s diversity initiatives, please visit www.officedepot.com/diversity.

About Supplier Connection

Supplier Connection is a web-based platform that makes it easy for small businesses to become recognized as potential suppliers to large companies and for large companies to identify small companies with whom they would like to do business. To learn more about Supplier Connection, visit www.supplier-connection.net or follow the consortium on Twitter @suppliercon.

About Office Depot

Office Depot, dedicated to helping customers save time and money, provides office supplies and services through 1,677 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $11.5 billion, and employs about 39,000 associates in 60 countries around the world.

Office Depot’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com and http://socialpress.officedepot.com/.

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