Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Home Depot is a home improvement retailer that aims for both the do-it-yourself consumer and the professional in home improvement construction. The company operates about 1,900 stores across North America. It is the largest home improvement retailer in the world and the third largest retailer overall after Wal-Mart and the French company Carrefour.
Home Depot stores are large, averaging 109,000 ft² (10,000 m²) and warehouse-style, stocking a large range of supplies. The company color is a bright orange, on signs, equipment and employee aprons.
The company was founded in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, and grew rapidly, with sales topping $1 billion annually by 1986. The Home Depot employs over 325,000 people. Today, The Home Depot is headquartered in Vinings, Georgia.
The Home Depot is the second-largest retail company based in the United States, behind Wal-Mart. Its 2004 sales totaled US$73.1 billion. It was ranked #13 on FORTUNE magazine's FORTUNE 500 list of U.S. companies in 2005.
The Home Depot also owns a chain of higher-end home decorating and appliance stores, EXPO Design Center , as well as a number of specialist Home Depot stores.
Since 1991, the company has become a large supporter of athletics, sponsoring the United States and Canadian Olympic teams, and launching a program to offer employment to athletes that fully allowed for their training and competition schedules. Company owner Blank also purchased the Atlanta Falcons franchise of the National Football League in February 2002. Home Depot is also the primary sponsor of Tony Stewart, who drives car #20 in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
The Home Depot has come under criticism from some environmental groups for selling old-growth rainforest lumber, including lauan, mahogany and other woods. As with other large retailers, there is also criticism that they are driving older, smaller businesses out through predatory pricing and other tactics.
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