1996 Retailer of the Year

For immediate release: 10/10/96

Contact: Margie Yu
Public Affairs Assistant
(323) 343-3047


Los Angeles, California -- October 10, 1996 -- On Wednesday, November 6, 1996, the Institute of Retail Management and the School of Business and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles will honor David I. Fuente, chairman and chief executive officer of Office Depot, Inc., at its 15th annual Retailer of the Year Award Luncheon. The gala event, which is considered to be one of the retail industry's most significant annual event, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Westin-Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Proceeds from this event will support the educational activities of the Institute and provide college scholarships for Los Angeles inner-city high school students.

Since 1982 the Institute has recognized leading executives for dedicated and outstanding contributions to American retailing. Fuente joins a prestigious group of past honorees that includes William S. "Bill" Davila, The Vons Companies; Jack H. Brown, Stater Brothers Markets; Wilfred C. Stroud, Strouds; Edward L. Butterworth, Fedco, Inc.; John V. Shields, Trader Joe's Company; and Roger M. Laverty III, Smart & Final, Inc.

David I. Fuente heads Office Depot, the largest chain of office products superstores in North America. Fuente, who holds a master of science degree from Purdue University, joined Office Depot in 1987. Under his direction, the office supply chain has grown from fewer than a dozen locations to more than 500 stores throughout the United States and Canada, with annual sales in 1995 of more than $5 billion. Office Depot is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has opened stores in Columbia, Israel, Mexico and Poland. There are also new stores scheduled to open in France and Thailand this year.

In addition, Fuente is an active member of his community. He is on the executive advisory boards for Purdue University, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida. He is on the boards of directors for both the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Arts and the International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida.

His accomplishments have been recognized by the American Jewish Committee's Institute of Human Relations Award and the Silver Medallion Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christian and Jews. In 1994, Fuente was recipient of the Excalibur Award from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and was named Specialty Discounter of the Year by Discount Stores News magazine. In 1995, he received the Torch of Freedom Award from the Anti-Defamation League and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Purdue University.

Founded in 1980 by CSLA Marketing Professor Bernard Codner, the Institute of Retail Management launched the West Coast's first retailing major for business students and initiated a retailing certificate program. In 1991, the Institute created the College Incentive Program (CIP), designed to motivate Los Angeles inner-city high school students to finish high school, enroll in college and prepare for business and professional careers. Initially limited to Fremont High School, the CIP has been expanded to include five others. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is administered jointly by the Institute, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Private Industry Council of Los Angeles and the Community Development Department, City of Los Angeles. It also receives strong support from the retail industry. The CIP is recognized as one of the nation's finest programs for inner-city youth.

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Cal State L.A. is the University's largest academic school with nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. The SBE offers three baccalaureates and five master's degree programs and has been accredited by the prestigious American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) for more than 30 years. Twelve bureaus, centers and institutes, including the Institute of Retail Management, administered by the School provide vital services to local and national businesses, matching the expertise of talented faculty and students with diverse community needs.

For more information about the luncheon or reservations, call the CSLA Institute of Retail Management at (323) 343-2970.

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