Home Depot exits China

DIY giant Home Depot is to pull out of China as it plans to close its remaining big-box stores after failing to find the right store format and do-it-yourself culture in the country.

The retailer is shuttering its last seven stores in the country, resulting in 850 job losses.

The closures follow that of its final store in Beijing in January. Home Depot will keep two speciality shops in Tianjin selling paint and flooring and home decoration.

Home Depot chief executive Frank Blake said: “Closing stores is always a difficult decision. We are thankful for the dedicated service of our store associates in China, and we wish them all the best during this transition.”

According to retail analysts, Home Depot did not find the right business format for one of the world’s most difficult home improvement markets, said the Financial Times.

Analyst at China Market Research group in Shanghai James Roy said: “Home Depot failed because it didn’t make any adjustments to its format to fit the way Chinese consumers shop.

“Home Depot essentially exported its big-box model to China and didn’t adapt.”

Roy said Chinese shoppers are not used to buying home décor products in one place, preferring to buy from multiple stores from competing brands.

“Consumers feel they can get more choice and do a lot more comparison shopping in these environments. When they see every product category ‘all under one roof’ like at Home Depot, they feel one store can’t be an expert in so many things and trust it less,” he said.

The closures will cost the retailer $160m in the third quarter.

Electricals giant Kingfisher trades in China under its B&Q fascia.

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