Home Depot – You’re Hired!

Home Depot is set for massive exposure via the latest series of The Apprentice, co-produced by Donald Trump

Home Depot has signed a multi-year deal that will place its products and services on several American reality TV shows including The Apprentice and The Contender (to be shown here on the Nine Network later this year).The multi-program agreement with Mark Burnett Productions will go beyond the usual brand and product appearances, with Home Depot becoming involved in the developing new shows and plotlines. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, though it has been referred to as a “multi-million” dollar deal. According to the Wall Street Journal, other sponsors of The Apprentice have paid about $1 million each for product integration rights per season. The New York Times put that figure at $2 million to $2.5 million for the third and current season of The Apprentice. And in a link with Australia, Home Depot could also become involved with new reality TV show, The Next Great Rock Star, where contestants compete to become the new lead singer of INXS.

Meanwhile, Home Depot is going from strength to strength, with new technology and store modernization key to the company’s growth plans for the next two years. Since 2001, about $17 billion has been reinvested in 760 new stores, store modernization and technology. Over the next two years, all of Home Depot’s 1,853 stores will be touched through either the company’s ongoing modernization program or resets. By the end of 2005, about 1,000 stores will contain self-checkout aisles. Last year, the company upgraded its points of sale through the introduction of cordless scan guns in many stores. All up, Home Depot will spend $760 million on store modernization and $615 million on new technology. Home Depot predicts sales to grow from between 9-12% in 2005 to nearly $80 billion, while earnings per share will grow 10-14%. Globally, Home Depot plans to add 19 stores in Canada and 10 stores in Mexico during 2005. CEO Bob Nardelli said there was “no timetable” set as to when the first Home Depot store would open in China. And despite continuous murmuring in Europe, it does not appear that Home Depot will be headed there soon, based on the strength of the Euro against the US dollar.

You will find more news items on the hardware industry in Australian Hardware Journal’s March issue.