Home Depot sees e-commerce as path to growth

According to a new Wall Street Journal report, Home Depot is focusing its efforts these days on the expansion of its e-commerce business, which means no new store openings for the time being.

"The retail model forever was to increase sales through opening additional units, but as you added stores to a finite group of households, each store becomes less profitable," Home Depot CEO Frank Blake told the Journal. "So the decision was made to stop opening additional boxes."

What that means for the retailer is the proliferation of online distribution centers, which will stock over 17 times the inventory of an average brick-and-mortar store.

However, as Blake noted in the interview, this presents logistical challenges for its bulky, heavy inventory. The company hopes the e-commerce component will pick up steam among contractors as well as consumers, who may prefer to have heavy appliances shipped to them instead.

Home Depot was opening as many as 200 stores per year prior to the recession.

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