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Home Depot focuses on everyday pricing going into holiday

Atlanta — In contrast to last year's holiday season featuring "a lineup of promotional events," this year The Home Depot will "focus on the basics of everyday low price, stronger and broader assortments and excellent service," said Carol Tome, executive vp and cfo, during the company's third quarter conference call yesterday.

Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and ceo, added that promotional activity now is offered on less than 5 percent of its assortment. "We'll manage our promotional calendar, but not put our price image at risk." And though the company eliminated much of its slower-moving merchandise last January with a clearance sale, Nardelli doesn't foresee a repeat of that strategy. "Our inventory today is cleaner, fresher and has a higher velocity than we've had in many years."

The company will also continue to improve the shopping experience, he said, investing in new fixtures, maintenance, displays and visual merchandising, and management training.

The Home Depot reported a 20.8 percent profit increase for its third quarter, netting $940 million, or $0.40 per share, in the three months ended Nov. 3, compared with $778 million, or $0.33 per share, in the same period last year.

On the strength of 34 new stores, overall sales for the quarter increased 9 percent to $14.5 billion, up from $13.3 billion a year ago.

However, the company acknowledged that sales were slipping at some of its older stores, and its expectation of missing Wall Street estimates for the year sent the stock tumbling.

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