Office supplies

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Office supplies is the generic term that refers to all supplies regularly used in offices by businesses and other organizations, from private citizens to governments, who works with the collection, refinement, and output of information (colloquially referred to as "paper work").

The term includes small, expendable, daily use items such as paper clips, staples, writing utensils and paper, but also encompasses higher-cost equipment like computers, printers, fax machines, photocopiers and cash registers, as well as office furniture such as cubicles or armoire desks. Two very common medium-to-high-cost office equipment items before the advent of suitably priced word processing machines and PCs in the 1970s and 80s were typewriters and adding machines.

Many businesses in the office supply industry have recently expanded into related markets for businesses, like copy centers that facilitate the creation and printing of business collateral, like business cards and stationery, plus printing and binding of high quality, high volume, business and engineering documents. Some businesses also provide services for shipping, including packaging and bulk mailing. In addition, many retail chains sell related supplies beyond businesses and regularly market their stores as a center for school supplies.

The office supply industry was estimated to be worth US$ 225 billion in 1999 and is still growing. [1] (http://www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/0,17863,527481,00.html) As of 2003, the largest office supply chains in the United States (in terms of revenue) are Staples (US$13.1B) and Office Depot ($12.3B).

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