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Home Depot to Shutter Expo, Cut Jobs

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Atlanta The Home Depot Inc. said Monday it will cut 7,000 jobs, or about 2% of its work force, as it shuts its Expo home design centers business and cuts down on corporate support staff.

Most of the cuts affect workers at Home Depot's 34 Expo Design Centers, five YardBIRDS, two Design Centers and HD Bath, a bath remodeling business with seven sites. The stores will close in the next two months.

The company said the cuts will cause it to record a $532 million pre-tax charge, most of which will be recorded in the fourth quarter.

Home Depot said its Expo business hasn't performed well financially, even during the past housing boom. It said the chain has weakened significantly in the current economic environment.

"Exiting our Expo business is a difficult decision, particularly given the hard work and dedication of our associates in that business and the support of our loyal customers," chairman and CEO Frank Blake said in a statement. "At the same time, it is a necessary decision that will strengthen our core Home Depot business."

The company's core Home Depot stores won't be affected.

Home Depot's plans also include 2,000 cuts to non-store jobs, including 500 workers in its corporate headquarters, while freezing the pay of its officers.

For its coming fiscal year, Home Depot said it will cut capital spending to about $1 billion and will open 12 stores, Reuters reported.

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