Banking on the odds that Americans will continue a recent trend of performing extra repair and remodeling on the homes they're stuck in due to COVID-19, The Home Depot announced on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that it is moving quickly to open three new distribution centers in Georgia over the next 18 months.
The Home Depot announced in 2017 that it would spend $1.2 billion to add 150 new sites to its distribution network. The objective, the company said at the time, was to offer same-day or next-day delivery to 90 percent of the U.S. population.
“Retail has changed more in the past four years than in our company’s 40-year history. Customers expect to shop whenever, wherever and however they want – whether they’re buying a hammer or a pallet of pavers,” Stephanie Smith, senior vice president of supply chain development and delivery at The Home Depot, said in a prepared statement. “We’re investing to meet the changing delivery needs of our DIY and Pro customers, whether they’re at home, at their job sites or picking up in the store.”
The largest of the three new Georgia operations, according to Home Depot, is a 657,000-square-foot distribution center in Locust Grove. The community is about 35 miles southeast of Atlanta on Interstate 75.
Another of the facilities, slated to open in Stonecrest, Georgia in 2021, will be geared toward flatbed trucks that deliver oversized loads to job sites. The Home Depot said the new operation, about 20 miles east of Atlanta on Interstate 20, follows the opening of a similar one in Dallas.
In a sign of the importance of online sales to The Home Depot in the wake of COVID-19, CEO Craig Menear said in May during the company's first-quarter earnings call: "Sales leveraging our digital platforms increased approximately 80 percent in the quarter, and more than 60 percent of the time, our customers opted to pick up their orders at a store."
In May, The Home Depot saw an increase in the average amount spent by customers per visit. In the same conference call, executives attributed the uptick to shoppers’ desire to minimize the number of trips to retail stores.
A Home Depot spokesman said the company had more than 200 U.S. supply chain facilities as of the end of the 2019 calendar year.