Their stores, which originally were set as an attachment to Treasure Island stores, carried a stock of around 25,000 products. Presently, offering twice as many products, it is the world's largest home improvement retailer operating over 1,400 stores in 49 U.S. states and 94 more abroad. Besides its most well-known stores, the company also operates 48 EXPO Design Centers across U.S. which enable customers to get expert advice and top quality products within its unique custom showrooms. At the end of its 2001 fiscal year, Home Depot had reported an impressive $53.6 billion of net sales. Their stock is publicly traded at NYSE, listed under the symbol "HD".
Fortune magazine has ranked the Home Depot as America's Most Admired Specialty Retailer for eight consecutive years. In March 2002 the same magazine placed Home Depot as number six on its "Top Ten" ranking of industry. This judgment was based on innovation, financial soundness, employee talent, use of corporate assets, long-term investment value, social responsibility, quality of management and quality of products/service.
Being the industry leader, Home Depot believes in setting a proper example to others by giving back to the communities in which it conducts its businesses. One-way of doing it is through providing grants in such areas as: affordable housing; at-risk youth; the environment; and disaster preparedness and relief. .
Home Depot's major competitor is Lowe's Companies, Inc. Lowe's is a 56 years old Fortune 100 company. With its $22 billion of net sales in 2001of a complete line of home improvement products and equipment within its 780 stores in 42 states, it is the world's second largest home improvement retailer and the 14th largest retailer in the U. S as well as the 30th largest retailer worldwide. Presently, in the midst of an aggressive expansion plan, Lowe's is opening a new store on average every 3 days. In 2001 alone, the company opened 115 new stores with an emphasis on large cities of population over 500,000, such as New York, Boston, and Los Angeles.