Home Depot to Cut 500 Jobs

Atlanta, Home Depot Inc. said on Thursday it will cut 500 jobs at its Atlanta store support center, or about 10% of the headquarters staff.

Company spokesman Ron DeFeo said employees were notified of the cuts Thursday. He said the company wants to ensure appropriate staff levels as it boosts funds for store improvements.

"Clearly we're operating in a tough business environment," he said. "We see that continuing into 2008."

Employees to be idled will be paid through early April, DeFeo added.

Home Depot is upgrading stores, hiring more trade specialists and taking other steps to improve business and win back market share under Frank Blake, who took over as chief executive when Robert Nardelli resigned under criticism in early 2007.

The retailer, which faces increased competition as rival Lowe's Cos Inc. expands into big U.S. cities, has forecast that earnings per share could fall as much as 11% for the 2007 fiscal year as the softer U.S. housing market cuts into sales. It is expected to report full-year and fourth-quarter results in February.