Diva Design Diary

By Holly Peterson

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Expo Design Center CLOSING THEIR DOORS!!!

By Holly Peterson

Did you hear? Expo Design Center is Closing Their Doors

UPDATE: Home Depot To Close Expo, Cut Thousands Of Jobs

CHICAGO (Dow Jones) -- In another sign of the worsening economic downturn, Home Depot Inc. said Monday that it is throwing in the sponge on its Expo design and décor business, closing stores and laying off thousands of employees.

Before the opening bell, Home Depot (HD) said that Expo has "not performed well financially and is not expected to anytime soon. Even during the recent housing boom, it was not a strong business."

The business "weakened significantly as the demand for big-ticket design and decor projects has declined in the current economic environment."

Over the next two months, the company will close 34 Expo Design Center stores, five YardBIRDS stores, two Design Center stores and a bath remodeling business known as HD Bath, with seven locations. All told, that will result in the loss of about 5,000 jobs.

"Streamlining" some support functions will cost another 2,000 positions for a total of about 2% of the company's workforce.

As result, Home Depot said it sees a total pre-tax charge of about $532 million, of which about $390 million will be recognized in the fourth quarter and the remaining $142 million will be recognized in 2009 and beyond.

Still, Home Depot affirmed an earlier forecast of a decline of 8% in sales and a 24% drop in earnings per share from continuing operations in 2008.

Shares of Home Depot rose 5.2% to $22.85 in midday trading.

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