Home Depot To Close 15 Stores

The soft housing market and sluggish economy have taken their toll on Home Depot, which plans to close 15 underperforming stores and slow its growth plans.

Home Depot says the closures, which will occur in the next two months and result in 1,300 lost jobs across the country, will help improve cash flow and provide stronger margins. The company also has cancelled plans to open 50 new stores that were in the pipeline for the 2009 fiscal year. Fifty-five new stores will, however, still open.

“Closing a store is always a difficult decision because it affects both our people and our communities,” says Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. “But, as with our decision to slow future growth, this is the right decision and will bring long-term benefits to our associates and to our shareholders.

“By building fewer stores in the best locations and making sure our existing stores are profitable, our company will be in a much stronger competitive position.”

This will be the first time Home Depot will close stores due to poor performance, the Associated Press reports.

Locations of the 15 stores closing are East Fort Wayne and Marion, Ind., Frankfort, Ky., Opelousas, La., Cottage Grove, Minn., East Brunswick and Saddle Brook, N.J., Rome, N.Y., Bismarck, N.D., Findlay and Lima, Ohio, Brattleboro, Vt., and Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and NW Milwaukee, Wis.

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