Home Depot CEO Frank Blake recently sat down for an interview with CNBC while he was in New York to promote Home Depot Foundation’s Celebration of Service campaign that runs from Sept. 11 through Veterans Day.
In the interview he talked about the store’s double-digit same-store growth, which he said has been the company’s “strongest second quarter in over 20 years.”
He cited the housing recovery for the growth, which he anticipates will continue for the last half of the year, and the return of the pro customer.
“Maybe not at a brisk pace, but a good pace, a good solid pace,” he said. “You can’t expect brisk in an environment where we’re just coming off the worst financial crisis most of us have ever seen.“
He said pro customers suffered from a lack of credit availability following the 20008 crash.
“You saw that market shrink post fall of 2008, but it has now started to recover,” he said. “In the first quarter, our pro segment grew faster than our consumer segment. In the second quarter they were both growing equally.”
As for store expansion, Blake said Home Depot has plans to open just two stores in the U.S., focusing on unique market opportunities instead of exponential growth.
“One is in Puerto Rico and the other in Minot, N.D., because Minot is now a booming town because of shale gas,” he said “We’ll build stores in Mexico, but it’s ones and twos. It’s not like a few years ago when we were doing 100, 200 a year. Those aren’t coming back. The environment is completely different.”