Home Depot considers shedding HD Supply

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A little more than a year after plunking down $3.2 billion for wholesale supplier Hughes Supply, Home Depot said yesterday that it is considering selling its HD Supply business in order to focus on its retail business.

The Hughes Supply deal was brokered by former chairman and president/CEO Robert Nardelli, who vacated that office in January after his six-year tenure failed to lift the retailer's stock price and amid growing questions about Home Depot's strategic direction.

Building the HD Supply division was reportedly one of Mr. Nardelli's pet projects. Supplying and servicing professional builders, contractors and maintenance workers was seen as a significant opportunity for the home furnishings retailer, since the home supply market is $410 billion. That soon changed amid growing reports of poor customer service in Home Depot stores.

Home Depot, Atlanta, said that it has decided to evaluate strategic alternatives for its HD Supply business, including a possible sale, spin-off or initial public offering.

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