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Home Depot adding jobs as sales rise

Home Depot forecast in February that revenue would advance 2.5 percent this year, marking the first increase since 2006. Home Depot forecast in February that revenue would advance 2.5 percent this year, marking the first increase since 2006. (David Walter Banks/ Bloomberg News)
Bloomberg News / April 7, 2010

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Home Depot Inc., the largest US home improvement retailer, is adding store jobs for the first time in four years in anticipation of a rebound in sales.

“We have already added to our payroll this year,’’ chairman and chief executive Frank Blake said in an interview Monday in Atlanta, where Home Depot is based. “As you have positive transaction growth, you need more associates to handle that in the stores. We are going to lean into our skis a little bit.’’

Home Depot made the decision to boost hiring late last year, Blake said. Sales advanced more than the company had anticipated in the fourth quarter, helped by demand for paint, flooring, and plumbing items. Home Depot forecast in February that revenue would advance 2.5 percent this year, marking the first increase since 2006.

The company, which had about 317,000 workers as of Jan. 31, eliminated jobs in each of the past three years, according to annual filings. Blake declined to say how many workers the company would add.

Home Depot and rival Lowe’s Cos. reported fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ expectations in February amid signs that the US housing market may be stabilizing. Lowe’s, the second-largest home improvement retailer, said spending was improving after consumers had curbed remodeling and major purchases during the recession.