Home Depot: Which way for international growth?

Today, Home Depot’s 30th birthday, is a time for reflection — as all birthdays generally are.

AJC reporter Rachel Tobin Ramos traced the company’s history and the issues it faces in a solid Sunday story about an Atlanta chain that has grown into the largest home-improvement retailer and Georgia’s biggest company.

But as CEO Frank Blake continues to try to improve sales and profitability in its existing stores, there will be a limit to that type of growth down the road.

The company only operates in three other nations — Canada, Mexico and China. And in Mexico and China, its presence is small, given the market sizes.

Contrast that to Georgia’s other large companies, such as Coca-Cola and UPS, which operate in some 200 nations.

But the home-improvement business is NOT the same as selling carbonated soft drinks or moving packages.

So, the question is, how aggressively or not should Home Depot seek international growth? And when?

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