Home Depot to Halt EXPO Business, Cut 7,000 Jobs

Home improvement products retailer Home Depot is pulling the plug on its high-end EXPO business and cutting its support staff. The moves will mean a loss of 7,000 jobs, or 2% of the company’s total workforce.

Home Depot during the next two months will close 34 EXPO Design Center stores, five YardBIRDS stores, two Design Center stores and a bath remodeling business known as HD Bath. This will affect 5,000 jobs, the company said.

The Atlanta-based retailer will also cut its support staff by about 2,000 employees, resulting in a 10% reduction in the company’s officer ranks.

What happened to Home Depot’s EXPO business? The unit has been struggling for a while–even during the recent housing boom.

“It has weakened significantly as the demand for big ticket design and decor projects has declined in the current economic environment,” said Home Depot CEO Frank Blake in a statement. “Continuing this business would divert focus and resources from the company’s core [Home Depot] stores.”

The big-box retailer has not had much success in cracking the high-end market. Home Depot in late 2006 scrapped its upscale furnishings catalog 10 Crescent Lane and lighting title Paces Trading Co.—just a year after both books debuted.

Home Depot then folded its direct unit in with the company’s merchandising department in January 2007. It sold its business-to-business division, HD Supply, in August 2007.