Lyra Webcast Probes Staples' Retreat from Epson- and HP-Compatible Ink Jet and Toner Cartridges

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Lyra Research, the digital imaging authority (http://www.lyra.com), discovered late last month that Staples (SPLS) quietly dropped Staples-branded compatible cartridges for Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers from its retail catalogs. Click here to attend the upcoming Lyra Webcast on this topic: http://www.webcastgroup.com/client/start.asp?wid=0790215073087

Lyra Research, the digital imaging authority (http://www.lyra.com), discovered late last month that, after repeatedly indicating that no changes were in the offing for its line of branded imaging supplies, Staples (SPLS) quietly dropped Staples-branded compatible cartridges for Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers from its retail catalogs. Sources report that removing HP and Epson cartridges from the Framingham, MA-based office superstore's catalog is the first step in what may amount to significant changes in the Staples line of aftermarket printer consumables. Staples is expected to remove all its Staples-branded HP ink and toner cartridges from retail stores early in the first quarter of this year, and the same fate may also be planned for Staples-branded Epson compatibles.

According to Charles Brewer, managing editor of The Hard Copy Supplies Journal, a monthly newsletter published by Lyra Research, Staples' decision to stop selling certain non-OEM cartridges can be seen as a victory for printer makers in their battle for market share with third-party supplies vendors.

"Score one for the OEMs," he quips. Brewer explains. "Staples has repeatedly pointed to sales of ink and toner consumables as a key revenue driver. The office supplies Goliath must sense there is an upside to dropping its Epson and HP cartridges. Throughout late 2006, rumors were flying that HP had cut a deal with the nation's largest office superstore to get it to pull its HP compatibles. It now appears that is true." The settlement Epson recently reached with various aftermarket companies is likely behind the office superstore's decision to drop its Epson compatibles. "Last month, a number of companies that market Epson compatibles announced they would discontinue selling these cartridges. The companies included the French firm Armor, which supplied Staples with its branded Epson compatibles."

With over 1,500 stores in North America, Staples' move will affect the sales of tens of millions of dollars worth of ink and toner cartridges. Given the market-leading position of the office superstore giant, the news is significant for printer makers and third-party imaging supplies vendors alike. The news raises many critical questions. Why drop these cartridges now? How will consumers react? What will the overall impact be on Staples' business? And what does the Staples move mean for the fast-growing aftermarket imaging supplies industry?

Attend the In-Depth Webcast on February 15

In addition to a lead story on the Staples move in the January issue of The Hard Copy Supplies Journal, Lyra Research will also host a free Webcast next month called OEMs Score Big at Staples in the Great Battle for the Printer Aftermarket. The Webcast, which will address the huge ramifications of the new Staples strategy, will take place Thursday, February 15 at 2 p.m. eastern standard time. Click here to register: http://www.webcastgroup.com/client/start.asp?wid=0790215073087

About Lyra Research's Webcasts

Lyra Research's Webcasts allow you to attend industry veterans' engaging presentations on the digital imaging industry's hot-button topics without leaving your office. Lyra's Webcasts offer imaging industry executives, marketers, and analysts an accessible and informal resource for insight and useful data points on timely issues in the hard copy hardware and supplies industries. Attendees need only an Internet connection and browser and audio capability. No special software is required.

About The Hard Copy Supplies Journal

The Hard Copy Supplies Journal monthly newsletter provides comprehensive reporting and analysis of technology, product, and market trends and industry events in the hard copy supplies industry. Published monthly since 1995, the Journal is the leading publication covering the vast digital imaging consumables industry and is written for product and marketing managers, strategic planners, public relations and advertising managers, and corporate executives at supplies companies worldwide. For more information and to download a sample copy of The Hard Copy Supplies Journal, please go to http://www.hardcopysuppliesjournal.com.

Lyra Research: The Digital Imaging Authority

Lyra Research collaborates with imaging industry decision-makers worldwide, enabling clients to strengthen their market position and achieve profitable growth. Lyra's expert analysts and editors help clients devise and implement creative solutions to business challenges, arming them with competitive intelligence, strategic and tactical advice, news and analysis, and market forecasts.

Since 1991, Lyra's custom research and consulting, advisory services, award-winning journals, and innovative events have set the standard for analysis of imaging hardware, consumables, and digital photography markets.

Visit http://www.lyra.com to learn more about how Lyra can be your strategic business partner.

Contact:

Andre Rebelo

Marketing Manager

Lyra Research, Inc.

617-454-2658

arebelo at lyra dot com

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