Oh Christmas Tree.. Oh christmas Tree.. Oh?? What’s A Christmas Tree??

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 22:24

Just stumbled onto an article in the USA Today Home Depot at home in China for holidays (via Blogging Stocks) .

To say the least, Home Depot had a difficult time getting into the market. they had several failed merger attempts, several management turnovers, and in the end paid a tidy sum to take up Homeway. Or as it is stated in the article:

After a decade of courting various Chinese companies, Home Depot (HD) finally bought its way in with the December 2006 purchase of Home Way, a Tianjin-based retailer which modeled itself on the Atlanta-based company. “They called themselves Home Way as they wanted Home Depot to do a deal with them, even 11 years ago,” when the company was founded, Verschuren said.

It was an epic journey that was discussed around the retail world for a while, but they made it and with the pressure of getting into the market behind them it was time to get down to business

she admits it was pretty rough before the company invested millions to remodel the original 12 stores it bought from Home Way, train the 3,000 employees and start operating under its own brand in August.

Home Way needed to strengthen its offerings in a number of ways, including its assortment of products, the kitchen, bathroom and flooring sections. And the store exteriors had to be redone. The remodeling was completed without shutting the stores.

Where I had to laugh a little bit was when the reporter covered the fact that Home Depot is selling Christmas trees and ornaments in the stores… and the response they received

“Lighting Christmas trees is a great tradition in North America. We’re delighted to continue this tradition in China,” Verschuren told a crowd of American businessmen in the parking lot, and a larger crowd of bemused onlookers.

“I have no idea what that tree is doing here. What’s Christmas?” asked migrant laborer Yang Kunji.

While Home Depot is a firm that I grew up with, I sometimes have to wonder who is polling their client base. B&Q, their largest competitor globally has executed in China in a very large way. they have been agressive, they have built through organic and acquisition, and they don’t have Christmas trees.

PErhaps Home Depot in their formative years are best to look to their partners for guidance. Model themselves after the best & grow strong.

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