From: Reuters
Published December 4, 2007 09:02 PM

Home Depot to close call centers, cut 950 jobs

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc <HD.N> is closing three call centers that aid its home services business, cutting about 950 jobs, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The centers include one in Tampa, Florida, that has about 751 workers, and two smaller ones in Chicago and Dallas that each employ about 100 people. The centers work with customers to facilitate installations of doors and other products.

Though the collapsing housing market has hurt demand for bigger-ticket installed projects, Home Depot spokesman Ron DeFeo said the closures were intended to make the installation process more efficient by giving customers one local point of contact with the store instead of multiple ones.

Home Depot has about 350,000 employees.

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The company posted a 27 percent drop in third-quarter profit last month and forecast a steeper fall in full-year earnings as the slumping housing market cut into sales.

The home improvement industry leader is upgrading stores, hiring more trade specialists and taking other moves this year to improve business as rival Lowe's Cos Inc <LOW.N> expands to bigger U.S. cities.

Home Depot shares rose 30 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $28.79 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Gary Hill)

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