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Auburn dodges hardware giant's ax

Home Depot looks elsewhere as it scraps future store plans
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Work at the North Auburn Home Depot site is continuing in the wake of corporate cost-cutting moves that local officials say don’t appear to include the site off Highway 49. The home-improvement giant announced Thursday that it would be shuttering 15 superstores – a first for the corporation after years of double-digit revenue growth cut short in recent months by a lingering economic downturn. It also is slowing its new-store development plans. Work at the 10.8-acre site in North Auburn started last year and heavy equipment was clearing the pad Friday for a 130,000 square-foot store. On the north side, giant water tanks were waiting to be buried. Mary Dietrich, Placer County Facility Services assistant director, said Home Depot has announced no store closings in California and that there is no indication that the North Auburn store site has been dropped from future plans. Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents the Auburn area, said he regularly checks the progress on the county-leased land and he’s seen no evidence of a slowdown. The Associated Press reported the Atlanta-based company said under-performing U.S. stores being closed represent less than one percent of its existing stores. The stores – in Eastern U.S. states – will be closed within the next two months. Calls to a Home Depot media spokesperson in Southern California went unreturned Friday. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.