Home Depot is a home improvement retailer that aims for both the do-it-yourself consumer and the professional in home improvement construction. The company operates more than 1,500 stores across North America and claims to be the largest home improvement retailer in the world. Home Depot stores are large (averaging 109,000 square feet) and warehouse-style, stocking a large range of supplies. The company color is a bright orange, on signs, equipment and employee aprons.
The company was founded in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, and grew rapidly, sales topping $1 billion annually by 1986. As of 2002, sales are $52.8 billion annually. Home Depot employs 300,000 people.
Home Depot also owns a chain of higher-end home decorating and appliance stores, EXPO Design Center, as well as a number of specialist Home Depot stores.
Since 1991 the company has become a large supporter of athletics, sponsoring the United States and Canadian Olympic teams, and launching a program to offer employment to athletes that fully allowed for their training and competition schedules.
Home Depot has come under criticism from some environmental groups for selling old growth rainforest lumber, including lauan, mahogany and other woods. As with other large retailers, there is also criticism that they are driving older, smaller businesses out through predatory pricing and other tactics.