HD expounds on plans for Mexico, Latin America

Home Depot executives, in two published interviews, discussed the Atlanta retailer’s views on expansion south of the U.S. border and beyond.

Ricardo Saldivar, chairman Home Depot Mexico, told El Financiero that the Mexican division expects to end this year with 100 stores in 58 cities. Currently there are 94 stores in Mexico. More than nine out of 10 Home Depot store openings take place in Mexico, Saldivar said.

Carol Tome, Home Depot’s longtime CFO, was more limited in her view of global expansion. In an interview with the Atlantic Journal Constitution, Tome said: "If we look around the world, there aren't very many places in the world that are very interesting" for expansion, citing the challenges of logistics, currency rates, times zones and cultural differences. 

But Home Depot hasn’t ruled out Central America, Tome said, despite the home improvement chain’s failed attempt to operate stores in Chile and Argentina in the late 1990s. Home Depot does have its eye on Brazil, although there are no immediate plans to open stores there.

Tome also said the company is studying India, a large market that cannot be overlooked. In China, where Home Depot recently closed its remaining big-box formats, the company will keep two pilots open: a paint and flooring store and another unit focused on its Home Decorators Collection. The company has short-term leases and specific milestones for these test stores, she said.