Home Depot Design Center closing in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Home Depot Design Center is closing its store at the Metropolitan located outside Center City Charlotte.

Ninety-three people who work in the Home Depot Design Center will be laid off.  The store opened during the fall of 2007.

The store will close by the end of April.  However, all merchandise is expected to be liquidated in March.

The closing suprised some shoppers.

"It's a good location. You can't find a place like this anywhere uptown," said Jerry Parker.

Others blamed the store's niche market of high-end products and services.

"It's for design. It's for luxury .... everything costs too much," said Kevin Davis who restores concrete.

He came stopped in to buy paint brushes, but said he usually goes somewhere else.

Management says the store never performed well. Spokesperson Paula Drake said the Charlotte store was a test concept.

The company owns the 128,000 square foot space at Metropolitan and will look for a buyer.

Employees will get 60 days severance and assistance with job placement.  They have been encouraged to apply for positions at other Home Depot stores.

The employees will receive a payout for medical insurance costs for the year and any bonuses in effect through January will be honored.

This comes as Home Depot Inc. says it's cutting 7,000 jobs and closing its smaller Expo chain as the recession continues to batter the nation's housing market.

The nation's largest home improvement retailer says the cuts will affect about 2 percent of its work force.

The company also plans to shed 2,000 non-store jobs and freeze the pay of its officers.

Home Depot will record a $532 million pretax charge in the fourth quarter related to the closures and layoffs.