Home Depot not closing

Published 10:21 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

The managers at The Home Depot store in Albert Lea would like customers to know that the store has no intentions to close and has not had any intentions to close.

Rumors have circulated in Albert Lea lately about the store’s impending end.

Home Depot spokeswoman Jen King from the national chain’s Atlanta headquarters confirmed Tuesday there were never any plans to close its typical stores.

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“We want to make sure the community knows and our associates know we are not closing,” she said.

She said The Home Depot in January indeed did announce the closing of 34 Expo Design Center stores, two Design Center stores, five Yardbirds stores and a bath remodeling business called HD Bath, which had seven locations.

“Even during the recent housing boom, it was not a strong business,” the announcement in January stated. “It has weakened significantly as the demand for big ticket design and décor projects has declined in the current economic environment. Continuing this business would divert focus and resources from the Company’s core ‘orange box’ stores.

Following the announcement, it is likely people thought regular Home Depot stores might close, too. The announcement, however, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to its stores, King said.

King said Albert Lea store manager Brian Brooks has had many people ask. The store did go through a remodeling, which left the front area somewhat empty during the work and possibly led to suspicions about the store’s fate.

King also noted that the poor state of the national economy worsens the likelihood of rumors. She said rumors were not as rampant when the economy was stronger.

The Home Depot has 2,274 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. In fiscal 2007, The Home Depot had sales of $77.3 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $4.2 billion. The company employs more than 300,000 workers.