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    COMPETITIVE WATCH

    Home Depot Fuel moves into Georgia.

    ATLANTA -- The Home Depot opened its first Home Depot Fuel convenience store, car wash and gas station in Georgia. The 2,700-square foot store in Acworth, Ga. caters to contractors, do-it-yourself consumers and commuters, according to the company.

    The store was designed based on feedback that the company received from these consumer groups. For example, the diesel pumps are separate from the other fueling stations, allowing professionals to use fleet cards and fill large vehicles with high-speed dispensers. In addition, the car wash will accommodate professional vehicles, such as larger pickup trucks and vans. Inside the store, coffee can be purchased in large containers along with larger packages of snacks for contractors to bring to job sites.

    "The Home Depot Fuel strategy complements our recently-announced plans to reinvest $350 million in our retail stores in the second half of 2006," said Jim Stoddart, senior vice president of growth initiatives at Home Depot. "It's another way for us to continue to grow store revenue by delivering innovation, great value and one-stop-shop convenience to our customers. Plus, it's no secret that the same contractors who spend a lot of time in our stores are also heavy customers of convenience stores."

    Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said "The Home Depot is a great Georgia company that has proven to be innovative and customer-focused, which is why it is so successful." He added, "As I travel the world talking about Georgia's thriving business climate, I consistently hold up The Home Depot as a shining example of a company that has used Georgia's advantages to grow from an entrepreneurial small business to a worldwide brand."

    Home Depot will measure the success of the newest location and decide if it will expand further into other markets. The first Fuel locations -- in Brentwood and Hermitage, Tenn. -- opened earlier this year. The Acworth site was chosen because of its location along a major roadway and the success of the existing Home Depot store in the area, according to the company. The company estimates that each location will generate $5 million to $7 million in revenue annually.

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