The Home Depot said May 15 that it still hasn’t made a decision on the fate of its wholesale distribution business, HD Supply, three months after announcing it would consider selling the division.

“I have to say I don’t see this at all as a delay,” CEO Frank Blake told analysts who questioned the company’s plans.

Blake said he hopes the review period, announced Feb. 12, doesn’t extend more than another three months, though he didn’t commit to making a decision by the end of the second quarter.

In a related statement, Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said that Home Depot has received inquiries from interested parties about buying a piece or all of HD Supply, which serves contractors, home builders and other business customers. No information was given about any formal offers or names of interested parties.

Tome acknowledged that the uncertainty over the status of HD Supply has caused some unrest in the unit and the entire Home Depot company.

“It’s very distracting and we would like to bring this to a close as quickly as possible,” Tome said.

Meanwhile, slow first-quarter earnings at the company haven’t helped the situation, it was noted in the address. Blake said Tuesday that the company did not expect any “near-term market improvement” as it posted a 29.5-percent drop in first-quarter profit and warned that the remainder of 2007 would be a challenge.

Home Depot said that for the three months ending April 29, it earned $1.05 billion, or 53 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.48 billion, or 70 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

The company cited erratic weather and continued weakness in the housing market as contributors to its poor first-quarter performance.