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New York City, Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli delivered a tech-friendly presentation at the National Retail Federation Big Show in New York City.
“Technology has never let me down,” said Nardelli, who sang the praises of automatic replenishment, inventory control, in-store kiosks and self-checkout technology, among other recent investments. During his five-year tenure as the top executive of the nation’s second-largest retailer, tech investment has spurred growth and improved operations, leading to an increase in the average ticket from $48 to $58. “Ten dollars doesn’t sound like much until you multiply it by 1.3 billion transactions,” he said. As an example of how far the company has come from a systems perspective, he pointed to his first day on the job at The Home Depot, when he asked to send an e-mail to all the store managers in the chain. He was told that he couldn’t—the company didn’t have the system in place at the time.
Nardelli’s economic outlook was extremely positive, despite a cooling housing market in many areas of the United States and rising interest rates. Unemployment is down and reinvestment in housing is strong, he said. “Home improvement is the absolute sweet spot of retail. … We are excited about the economy.”