Home Depot to Shut Down Stores

ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot is closing 15 of its namesake stores, affecting 1,300 employees. It is the first time the home improvement retailer has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons.

The Atlanta-based company said Thursday that the underperforming U.S. stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

A company spokesman says some of the employees will be relocated, while others could lose their jobs.

Spokesman Ron DeFeo says Home Depot has only closed one of its
flagship stores previously because of structural damage.

The company reiterated its intention to open 55 new stores in the 2009 fiscal year.