The Home Depot Exits EXPO Business, Streamlines Support Functions and Reaffirms Previous Fiscal 2008 Sales and Earnings Guidance



    ATLANTA, Jan. 26 /CNW/ -- The Home Depot(R), the world's largest home
improvement retailer, today announced it will exit its EXPO business.  The
Company is also taking steps to streamline its support functions.  These
decisions will impact 7,000 associates, or approximately two percent of the
Company's total workforce.  Finally, the Company today reaffirmed its previous
guidance on earnings for the 2008 fiscal year, excluding the charge associated
with the actions announced today and the store rationalization charge
recognized earlier in the year.
    
    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030502/HOMEDEPOTLOGO )
    EXPO
    
    The EXPO business has not performed well financially and is not expected
to anytime soon.  Even during the recent housing boom, it was not a strong
business.  It has weakened significantly as the demand for big ticket design
and decor projects has declined in the current economic environment.
Continuing this business would divert focus and resources from the Company's
core "orange box" stores.  Therefore, over the next two months, the Company
will be closing 34 EXPO Design Center stores, five YardBIRDS stores, two
Design Center stores and a bath remodeling business known as HD Bath, with
seven locations.  These steps will impact approximately 5,000 associates in
those locations, their support functions and their distribution centers.
    "Exiting our EXPO business is a difficult decision, particularly given
the hard work and dedication of our associates in that business and the
support of our loyal customers," said Frank Blake, Chairman and CEO.  "At the
same time, it is a necessary decision that will strengthen our core Home Depot
business."
    
    Support Reductions
    
    The Company also announced that it is restructuring support functions to
better align the Company's cost structure with the current economic
environment.  This includes continuing its shift to a region- and district-
based support model in various field functions and reducing headcount in
administrative functions in the Company's store support centers.  These
support reductions will impact approximately 2,000 associates and will result
in a 10% reduction in the Company's officer ranks.  They will not impact any
customer-facing positions in Home Depot stores.
    The Company is also initiating a salary freeze among all officers.  But,
it will continue to offer merit increases to non-officer associates, as well
as earned bonuses and the Company's existing 401k matching contribution for
all associates, including officers.  The Company will offer severance, earned
bonuses and other benefits to all impacted associates.
    "We're very fortunate that the soundness of our company lets us live our
value of taking care of our people, even in this time of unprecedented
economic hardship," Blake said.  "These changes will make us a stronger
company and will allow us to continue to grow associate employment over the
long term to benefit our customers."
    
    Charges Related to Restructuring
    
    The Company anticipates taking a total pre-tax charge due to these
actions of approximately $532 million, of which approximately $390 million
will be recognized in the fourth quarter and the remaining $142 million will
be recognized in 2009 and beyond. The charge consists primarily of fixed asset
write-offs, lease reserves on closed stores, severance and store closing
costs.  The cash component related to severance and store closing costs is
projected to be approximately $153 million over the next twelve months, and is
expected to be offset by cash received for liquidated inventory.
    These actions should benefit fiscal 2009 earnings before interest and tax
by approximately $305 million. The benefit to earnings is primarily a result
of payroll savings and operational improvements from the business exit.
    
    HD Supply
    
    The Company announced that it will take two charges in the fourth quarter
related to its sale of HD Supply in 2007 and its ongoing equity interest in
that business.  First, it will record a charge of approximately $55 million,
net of tax, to be reflected in discontinued operations primarily related to
the working capital dispute related to the sale of the business.  The cash
component of the HD Supply charge is $22 million.  Second, it will record a
pre-tax charge of $163 million that will be reflected in other expense for a
write-down of the Company's investment in HD Supply.
    
    Updated 2008 Sales and EPS Guidance
    
    The Company confirmed that it expects fiscal 2008 sales and earnings per
share from continuing operations to decline by 8% and 24% respectively before
the charge associated with today's announcement and the store rationalization
charge recognized earlier in the year.
    
    Fiscal 2009 Outlook
    
    Looking forward, the Company anticipates continued weakness in sales
related to the broader economic downturn, but will continue to invest in
customer service in its core Home Depot stores, while optimizing its capital
allocation.  The Company plans to reduce capital expenditures to approximately
$1 billion in fiscal 2009 and will open 12 stores.  Fiscal 2009 sales and
earnings per share guidance will be provided during the Company's fourth
quarter earnings call on February 24, 2009.
    The Home Depot will conduct a conference call today at 11 a.m. ET to
discuss information included in this news release and related matters. The
conference call will be available in its entirety through a webcast and replay
at homedepot.com in the Investor Relations section.
    
    Special Note to EXPO Customers
    
    Throughout the process of closing its EXPO stores, The Home Depot is
committed to meeting the needs of its customers.  The Company will complete
any construction projects that have been started.  In cases where product has
been ordered but the construction project hasn't been started, the Company
will refund the price of installation and the design retainer.  The customer
can then arrange for their own installation.  In cases where a design retainer
has been paid but product has not yet been ordered, the customer will receive
a full refund of the design retainer, as well as a 10% off coupon that can be
used for a product and services discount at a local Home Depot store.  All
special orders will be completed.  Any back orders will be refunded to the
customer.  Customers with questions should contact their local EXPO or one of
the Company's call centers at 1-800-259-1042 or 1-800-797-1745.
    
    About The Home Depot
    
    The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty
retailer, with 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 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock
Exchange (NYSE:   HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and
Standard & Poor's 500 index. HDG
    Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements may relate to, among other things, the demand for
our products and services, net sales growth, comparable store sales, store
openings and closures, state of the economy, state of the construction,
housing and home improvement markets, reinvestment plans, net earnings
performance, earnings per share, capital allocation and expenditures,
liquidity, the effect of adopting certain accounting standards, and the effect
of charges and impairments.  Such forward-looking statements are based on
currently available information and current assumptions, expectations and
projections about future events. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on our forward-looking statements.  Such statements are subject to future
events, risks and uncertainties - many of which are beyond our control or are
currently unknown to us - as well as potentially inaccurate assumptions that
could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations and
projections.  Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to:
economic conditions in North America and in other countries where we operate;
changes in our cost structure; and conditions affecting customer transactions
and average ticket, including, but not limited to, improving and streamlining
operations.  Material risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results
to differ materially from our expectations and projections are described in
our Annual Report on Form 10-K for our fiscal year ended February 3, 2008.
Such risks and uncertainties include the considerable risks associated with
the current economic environment and possible adverse effects on our results
of operations and financial condition.  Such risks and uncertainties are also
described in the Form 10-Q for our fiscal quarter ended November 2, 2008.  We
note such factors that could cause actual results and outcomes to differ
materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements as permitted
by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  There also may be
other factors that we cannot anticipate or that are not described herein
because we do not perceive them to be material. Such factors could cause
results to differ materially from our expectations.  Forward-looking
statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to
update such statements other than as required by law.

    
    ATTACHMENT
    

    
    PLEASE NOTE:  NO "ORANGE-BOX" HOME DEPOT STORES ARE CLOSING.
    
    The following EXPO, Design Center and YardBIRDS stores are scheduled to
close:

    
    EXPO
    

    
    Arizona
    -- Scottsdale (7000 East Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85054)
    California
    -- Anaheim 1011 (N Tustin Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92807)
    -- Dublin (7050 Amador Plaza Rd, Dublin, CA 94568)
    -- Emeryville (1555 40th Street, Emeryville, CA 94608)
    -- Encinitas (1550 Leucadia Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024)
    -- Huntington Beach (6912 Edinger Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647)
    -- Laguna Niguel (25600 Rancho Niguel Rd, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)
    -- Westwood Village (10861 Weyburn Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024)
    -- Monrovia (407 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia, CA 91016)
    -- Redondo Beach (1519 Hawthorne Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278)
    -- Roseville (1120 Galleria Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678)
    -- San Diego (7803 Othello Avenue, San Diego, CA 92111)
    -- San Jose (5095 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118)
    Florida
    -- Boynton Beach (1520 SW 8th Street, Boynton Beach, FL 33426)
    -- Davie (8944 State Rd 84, Davie, FL 33324)
    -- Miami (5737 NW 7th Street, Miami, FL 33126)
    -- Naples (1000 Immokalee Road, Naples, FL 34110)
    -- SW Orlando (4601 Millenia Plaza Way, Orlando, FL 32839)
    Georgia
    -- Alpharetta (10700 Davis Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30004)
    -- Atlanta - Perimeter (1201 Hammond Drive, Atlanta, GA 30346)
    Illinois
    -- Downers Grove (1021 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove, IL 60515)
    -- Vernon Hills (569 N Milwaukee Avenue, Vernon Hills, IL 60061)
    Massachusetts
    -- Burlington (43 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803)
    Maryland
    -- Bethesda (7111 Westlake Terrace, Bethesda, MD 20817)
    -- Columbia (6100 Dobbin Road, Columbia, MD 21045)
    Missouri
    -- Manchester (14205 Manchester Rd, Manchester, MO 63011)
    New Jersey
    -- Bridgewater (744 US Highway 202, Bridgewater, NJ 08807)
    -- Paramus (577 Winters Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652)
    New York
    -- Commack (1 Garrett Place, Commack, NY 11725)
    -- New Rochelle (8 Joyce Road, New Rochelle, NY 10801)
    -- Westbury (1250 Corporate Drive, Westbury, NY 11590)
    Tennessee
    -- Nashville (2421 Powell Avenue, Nashville, TN 37204)
    Texas
    -- Dallas - Galleria (13900 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240)
    Virginia
    -- Fairfax (11181 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030)
    

    
    Design Center
    

    
    California
    -- Concord (1461 Concord Avenue, Concord, CA 94520)
    North Carolina
    -- Charlotte (900 Metropolitan Avenue, Building #1, Charlotte, NC 28204)
    

    
    YardBIRDS
    

    
    California
    -- Concord (5424 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord, CA 94521)
    -- Petaluma (2000 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma, CA 94954)
    -- San Pablo (13901 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo, CA 94806)
    -- San Rafael (1801 4th Street, San Rafael, CA 94901)
    -- Alamo (3211 Danville Blvd., Alamo, CA 94507)

    




For further information:

For further information: Financial Community: Diane Dayhoff, Sr. Vice
President of Investor Relations, +1-770-384-2666, diane_dayhoff@homedepot.com,
or News Media, Ron DeFeo, Director of Corporate Communications,
+1-770-384-3179, ron_defeo@homedepot.com, both of The Home Depot Web Site:
http://www.homedepot.com


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