July/August  2004

Big Box Bulletin


The Home Depot to Develop Business in China
Atlanta-based The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, has announced that it will formally create a business development operation based in China and named Bill E. Patterson to the newly created position of president, The Home Depot Asia. Patterson will lead the company’s expansion into China, one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world. He will report directly to Bob Nardelli, chairperson, president and chief executive officer of The Home Depot. 

Patterson, who has served as president, Central Division since 2002, joined The Home Depot in 1999. Prior to The Home Depot, Patterson’s experience spanned more than 30 years in retail in the United States, Asia, Mexico and Europe. Patterson held positions as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sears Roebuck of Mexico, and president and CEO of HomeBase, then the sixth largest home improvement retailer in the U.S. 

“I am confident that Bill’s international experience, operational skills and leadership abilities will drive a successful entry into the China market for The Home Depot,” said Nardelli. 

China’s gross domestic product is nearly one and one half trillion dollars. The country’s population is growing, along with personal wealth. It is estimated that the Chinese home improvement market today is at nearly $50 billion and growing at a compounded rate of 20 percent. 

“About 70 percent of home improvement spending in China is for completion of interior space in new homes. We see that as a solid growth opportunity given The Home Depot’s strength in merchandise and services geared to finishing out a home,” said Patterson. 

The market potential in China is helped not only by the growing economy there, but by the relatively limited competitive landscape. According to the company, there are few large-format home improvement stores in China today, and the country is largely served by small outdoor markets and shopping malls. 

The announcement is the company’s latest move as it expands its market presence internationally. The Home Depot just completed its acquisition of Home Mart in Mexico, which doubled the company’s presence in that country and firmly establishes it as the leader in Mexico’s $15 billion home improvement market. In addition, the company will celebrate its tenth anniversary in Canada this year, where it operates more than 100 stores.

“Based on our success in expanding to international markets, I am confident of the portability of our model to China,” added Nardelli. 

Concurrent with this move, the company also announced that Troy Rice, senior vice president, Operations since 2002, will replace Patterson as president, Central Division at its Chicago office. Rice, a 14-year veteran of The Home Depot, had previously served as a division president for its former Northwest Division from 2001 to 2002. The Central Division services approximately 600 stores, including the company’s 40 stores in Mexico, and employs approximately 80,000 associates. 

The company also announced it has promoted Carl Liebert to senior vice president, Operations, replacing Rice. Liebert joined The Home Depot last year from Circuit City, where he had served as a division president. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Ace Rewarded for Energy Star® Ad Campaign
Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware was a 2004 award winner for energy-efficient product promotion. The awards are given annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE and EPA recognized Ace at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2004.

The company’s main efforts to promote Energy Star have been through its partnerships with GE Lighting; together, the companies have offered rebates, in-store training and signage having to do with energy-efficient light bulbs and how they should be used. In addition, Ace held eight media events throughout 2003 promoting the bulbs, with the help of state and city governments, Energy Star program representatives and consumers to promote Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs.


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