May 17, 2007 - Senior Executive Out At Home Depot
Jim Stoddart, Home Depot’s senior vice president of growth initiatives, will leave the company tomorrow, another sign that Big Orange may keep its focus on its core retail business.
Stoddart, the former head of HD Supply, was hired by ex-chief executive Bob Nardelli four years ago to develop sales opportunities outside the retailer’s big-box home improvement stores.
Stoddart also helped develop Landscape Supply, a stand-alone nursery concept that opened 11 location in the past five years. Home Depot doesn’t plan to open any more stores. Stoddart was also in charge of Home Depot Fuel, a chain of convenience store/gas stations. The company has built four such stores, each located outside one of its retail outlets. Two more are under construction. Nardelli had planned to have 300 sites in operation by 2010.
Stoddart’s position was eliminated, and his duties will be given to other executives.
Home Depot CEO Frank Blake, who took over from the ousted Nardelli last January, has said the company will concentrate on improving the company’s retail operations. As part of those plans, Blake is considering selling HD Supply.
Home Depot continues to struggle this year as skittish consumers put off plans to either purchase a new home or finance improvements to exisiting shelters. Earlier this week, the company reported a 30-percent drop in first-quarter profits. Quarterly sales for its retail stores fell 4 percent, with comparable-store sales off 8 percent.