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Home Depot Stores

Home Depot stores are those bright orange colored big box format home improvement stores so familiar to many Americans. The company operates more than 2,000 stores across the United States, including every state in the Union, Washington DC, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. There are also stores in Canada, Mexico, and China. The headquarters of the company is located in Atlanta, Georgia.  No matter what goes on in the news, such as the stories of Hank Baksett's resigning from the Vikings, everyone knows they can count on their local Home Depot.

Largest U.S. Home Improvement Retailer

According to statistics kept by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Home Depot is the largest home improvement retail chain in the country in terms of gross sales. Stores are housed in warehouse style buildings, all set up in similar fashions with the exceptions of some megastores that are much larger in size. One of the things that shoppers find so appealing about the Home Depot experience is that in general, if you've been to one store, you can find your way around all of them because they are all set up in largely the same fashion, although in some cases the stores are mirror images of one another.

History of the Home Depot

The Home Depot was founded in 1978 by a group of entrepreneurs who had an idea for a business concept that had never been tried out before. They wanted to build home improvement stores that were much larger than any that were in business at the time. The investors secured the funds to start up and opened the first two stores the following year. Later that same year two more opened, and the growth process was already beginning. The first stores were in leased space owned by retailer J.C. Penney [1].

The company has been through its share of ups and downs over the years, much like any retailer, enjoying brisk sales when home construction and remodeling are hot and slowing down when the market goes flat. The Home Depot has been fairly responsive to these changing market conditions, adding on or dropping warehouses and subsidiaries as current conditions required, and hiring or laying off employees as sales dictated. A wholesale division called HD Supply was spun off and sold in 2007, for example. The sale of HD Supply allowed Home Depot to raise the capital to buy back some of its stock [1].

The Home Depot Today

Whether in good times or bad, customers have come to count on this chain of home improvement warehouses to help them maintain their homes and find the materials to do so at affordable low prices. When economic conditions are good, contractor sales are more heavily emphasized; but when things slow down more importance is placed on working with homeowners who tend to do more of their own remodeling work in these conditions. Home Depot is positioned to work with both contractors and homeowners.

Some units have had to close from time to time, but by and large the number of Home Depot warehouses has grown throughout the years since the first ones were opened up in the late 1970s. As a business that has survived through multiple generations, it faces unique challenges even today. From dealing with auto insurance companies for truck rentals to maintaining aging stores, extra expenses can really add up.

Home Depot employees and executives over time have had to develop a spirit of adaptation to survive and thrive in different conditions. This same principle is true of all retailers. But a huge corporation like Home Depot especially needs this attitude from its people, because long term survival has to come from those on the inside contributing to long term success.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Home_Depot Retrieved 2010-09-25.

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