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New Home Depot store aims to make women feel at home

From the Associated Press

The Home Depot that opened in Concord, Calif., on Thursday traded in the lumberyards for flower bouquets and floral-print storage bins, a first-of-its-kind bid by the home improvement giant to seek women customers by retooling its warehouse formula.

There are no commercial building supplies or contractor-grade tools. What customers will find is well-lit bathrooms, elaborate kitchen displays and stylish home furnishings.

There will be expanded showrooms, softer lighting and lower shelves.

The new Concord store carries about three-quarters of the merchandise that a typical Home Depot sells, said Tim Seymour, Home Depot Inc.'s senior manager for merchandising. Instead, the store includes a home decor and furnishings department, home organization department and an expanded window and door gallery.

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The center of the store is composed mostly of showrooms that showcase appealing kitchens and porcelain bathtubs.

“We wanted to make it as shoppable as possible,” Seymour said.

The Home Depot Design Center will serve as a test site, with a second store set to open next week in Charlotte, N.C.

“This is another store in the market for us to reach consumers in a new and different way,” said Jason Feldman, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot. Most Home Depots are cavernous warehouses that cater to do-it-yourselfers and contractors. Merchandise is stacked so high that it often requires a ladder to reach it.

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“It’s a male-friendly home improvement store,” said Britt Beemer, a retail expert and president of America’s Research Group.

“It’s a warehouse environment, and it’s not clean and neat the way women like it.”


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