Home Depot to Close 15 'Expo' Units, Convert Others

Atlanta-The Home Depot plans to close 15 of its upscale EXPO Design Center stores, and convert another five EXPO locations to Home Depot stores, the company announced.

The nation's largest home improvement chain, headquartered in Atlanta, announced the move last month. Company officials stated, however, that the remaining 34 EXPO stores, scattered in upscale markets throughout the U.S., are profitable and will continue operating.

The upscale EXPO chain, which opened several years ago amid much publicity, has been at the heart of The Home Depot’s strategy in mounting an assault on the upscale kitchen cabinet retailer. The chain features a wide range of high-end kitchen, bath and other products for the home, and offers design and installation services - and an ambiance - not typically found at a mass-merchant location.

The Home Depot disclosed its plans concerning EXPO as it posted better-than-expected first-quarter profits.

Company officials did not say how many employees would be affected by the changes. The big-box retailer ended the first quarter with 1,911 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The EXPO stores scheduled for closure include locations in Concord, CA; Park Meadows, CO; Buckhead, GA; Chicago, Aurora and Schaumburg, IL; Lenexa, KS; Braintree, MA; Troy and West Bloomfield, MI; Cleveland, and Houston, NW Houston, Plano and No. Richland Hills, TX.

The EXPO stores to be converted into Home Depot outlets include locations in East Palo Alto, CA; Utica, MI; Union, NJ, and Nanuet and Queens, NY.