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FRAMINGHAM, MA-Staples Inc. has made a major investment in Belgium by locating not only its European headquarters but also a call center and a distribution center there. According to president Ronald L. Sargent, the HQ facility will serve as a base of operations as Staples “expands our operations in Europe.”

“Belgium has a good, vibrant workforce,” says Jacques Levy, Staples International president, who is based in Brussels. “An added advantage is the central location. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, which is roughly 200 miles or less from many of Europe’s major cities, including London, Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.”

Staples currently has 153 stores in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal, with plans to open roughly 20 or more stores in Europe in 2001. Same-store sales growth in Europe was 18% percent during Staples’ second quarter, the highest rate of any retail operation in the company. Details of the deal were not released.

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