II. Background Information
The Home Depot Inc. was founded in 1978 and is the world’s largest home improvement retailer and the second largest retailer in the United States. The sales for the fiscal year 2000 were $45.7 billion, compared to $38.4 billion in fiscal 1999. As of January 2001, the company was operating 1,134 retail stores in forty-seven states, six Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico, Chile and Argentina.
Home Depot stores sell a wide assortment of building materials, home improvement and garden products. Twenty-six EXPO Design Center stores sell products and services primarily for design and renovation projects. Additionally, the company operates four Villager’s Hardware test stores, which offer products for home enhancement and small projects. In mid-year, Home Depot also launched a Home Depot Floor Store, located in Plano, Texas.
Home Depot stores serve three primary customer groups: do-it-yourself (D-I-Y) customers, who are typically homeowners that purchase products and complete their own projects and installations; buy-it-yourself (B-I-Y) customers, who are typically homeowners that purchase materials themselves and hire third parties to complete the project and/or installation; and professional customers, who are professional repair re-modelers, general contractors and tradesmen.
The Company also offers products through two direct marketing subsidiaries: Maintenance Warehouse and National Blinds and Wallpaper. The Maintenance Warehouse subsidiary is one of the leading mail marketers of maintenance, repair and operations products serving primarily the multi-family housing and lodging facilities management market. The company’s National Blinds and Wallpaper subsidiary is a telephone mail order service for wallpaper and custom window treatments.
Home Depot stores average approximately 108,000 square feet of enclosed space, with an additional approximately 24,000 square feet in the outside garden area. The basic EXPO Design center is approximately 90,000 square feet. Newly acquired companies, Georgia Lighting Inc. and Apex Supply Company Inc., are each operated by Home Depot Inc. as a wholly owned subsidiary. Georgia Lighting, a leading specialty lighting designer, distributor and retailer, has six retail locations. Apex Supply Company is a wholesale supplier of plumbing, HVAC and other related professional products, with twenty-one locations in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.
The co-founder of Home Depot Inc. retired as co-chairman on May 30, 2001. Arthur Blank, 58 years old, ran Home Depot since its inception in 1978 and was chief executive from May 1997 to December 2000. He will not seek re-election to the board. Co-founder Bernie Marcus, 71, the company’s other co-chairman, is expected to continue as chairman. Blank decided to retire sooner than he had planned, primarily because of what he called the successful transition of leadership to CEO Robert Nardelli, a former General Electric Co. executive and the first...