Rebuilding Home Depot

May 01, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Matthew Maier’s Free Advice column on Business 2.0 asks three experts what Home Depot needs to do to get growing again.

Tom Goetzinger, a stock analyst with Morningstar says part-timers aren’t focused on customer service because of a lack of training and poor pay. He suggests the company “invest in full-time employees, who have a stake in the future of the company.”

Colin McGranahan, research analyst, Sanford C. Bernstein says the answer is remodeling stores. According to Mr. McGranahan, “Home Depot is planning major remodels for just 45 stores this year, but 300 face direct competition from new Lowe’s locations.”

Ken Nichols, vice president for retail operations, for rival Ace Hardware believes, “Home Depot has to find out if there’s life after the big box. There’s an opportunity to focus on smaller stores that are more consumer-friendly. That would also allow them to specialize in niche categories like lawn or business.”

Moderator’s Comment: What must Home Depot do to get
growing again?

All three experts that spoke with Business 2.0 made valid
suggestions. Our view is that most retailing problems are people problems. Reeducated
and reenergize store associates and the other stuff will fall into place. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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