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2005-05-25
Atlanta, GA. Home Depot Shuts Down 20 Expo Stores

A lot of orange blood was spilled this week, as workers in 20 Home Depot Expo stores may lose their jobs. It looks like more than a third of the 54 existing Home Depo Expo Design Centers are slated to become Ex-Expos. Home Depot announced this week that it would close down the "unprofitable" stores, which were supposed to attract wealthy homeowners, but didn't. Instead, Home Depot will spend $106 million to dump the Expo stores. Home Depot will keep open 34 Expo Centers, whose showrooms feature kitchens, bathrooms and appliances. The Expo line of stores was created in 1991. Most of the merchandise sold in Expo Centers cost more than what consumers could buy at Home Depot's main stores. Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli, who came from General Electric, stopped the construction of new Expo stores. 15 Expos will be sold off, while 5 will be converted into Home Depot stores. The five stores that will be converted are in California, Michigan, New Jersey and New York. Although local communities where stores would close were not immediately revealed, newspaper stories began to surface in communities where Expos were on the way out. For example, newspapers in Texas disclosed this week that four of Home Depot's five Expo Design Centers in Texas would be closing. An Expo spokesman was quoted as saying, "They took a look at certain stores and saw that they weren't aligning against the strategic business goal." Home Depot did not say how many of its workers would lose their jobs, only that the company would try to find new jobs for displaced workers within Home Depot. Home Depot says it will be focusing in the months ahead on installed sales, such as kitchen cabinets and windows, which will also put local installers out of business as well.

What you can do: Home Depot stock perked up on news of the closings. Any time a retailer closes down unprofitable stores or reduces its workforce, investors are happy. But the workers who put on orange vests are the unhappy side of this Expo extermination. Along with the closed stores are hundreds of workers who thought Home Depot knew what it was doing when it opened these Expo stores. It just goes to show that even the retailer at the top of its category can make mistakes, even big mistakes like Expo. How long will it before the other 34 Expos are shut down as well? The closing of 20 Expo stores gives new meaning to the term "category killer." Home Depot adds these new contributions to our nation's growing number of empty big box stores.










 
 
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