* Home Depot laying off 1,000 employees
* Restructuring support functions, exiting 3 pilots
(Adds more Blake comments from memo)
By Dhanya Skariachan
NEW YORK, Jan 26 Home Depot Inc (HD.N), the
world's largest home improvement chain, is laying off about
1,000 employees, according to an internal memo obtained by
Reuters, two days after warehouse club store Sam's Club said it
would cut more than 11,000 jobs.
"We are restructuring select support functions to better
align with our business needs and we are exiting three
underperforming pilots," Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said in a
memo to employees on Tuesday.
It is the second of two big job cut rounds in the retail
sector. Sam's Club, the warehouse club unit of Wal-Mart Stores
Inc (WMT.N), announced plans on Sunday to cut about 11,200
jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce.
"It is never good news to announce layoffs. The personal
hardship that this will cause for many of our associates makes
this a very difficult decision. But it is the right and
necessary decision for our business, our associates as a whole,
and for our shareholders," Blake said.
Home Depot is not cutting jobs because of poor financial
performance, Blake told employees.
"I want to reiterate that this is not a case of the company
cutting expenses in reaction to broader economic pressures or
our business performance," he wrote. "Rather, we are making
prudent structural changes where it makes business sense to
consolidate some functions."
The changes follow Home Depot's decision to move to a
centralized human resources structure, Blake said. The company
is also cutting costs in its real estate and construction
functions because it is not building as many new stores.
It has no plans to close stores except for three pilot
project locations, Blake said.
The pilots include a smaller store with a more limited
selection of products in Wilson, North Carolina; a temporary
hurricane recovery outlet in Waveland, Mississippi; and a
clearance outlet in Austell, Georgia.
The company will give employees a minimum severance package
of 60 days' pay. They also will be eligible for year-end bonus
Home Depot shares were up 0.5 percent at $27.76.
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and