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Home Depot Hiring More Than 60,000 Seasonal Workers

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Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Home Depot Inc. is hiring more than 60,000 temporary workers in the U.S., as well as adding permanent employees for the second year in a row.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer is staffing up as it prepares for the biggest selling season of the year, March through mid-June, Craig Menear, executive vice president of merchandising, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“It is about driving traffic,” Menear, 53, said from Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta. “Spring is our Christmas.”

Menear declined to say how many full-timers and part-timers will be hired permanently.

The retailer had 317,000 employees, including 298,000 hourly or temporary workers, as of Jan. 31, 2010, according to an annual securities filing. About 61 percent worked full-time.

Starting next month, Home Depot will roll out discounts on cooking grills, garden tools and other outdoor supplies. Marketed as “Spring Black Friday,” the promotions will run over four weekends across the U.S. Where and when will depend on the climate and temperatures of each region, Menear said.

A year ago, two-for-one petunias and other price cuts drew more customers and spurred transactions for $50 or less.

For the year that ended Jan. 30, Home Depot generated revenue of $67.7 billion, according to the average estimate of 19 analysts. That would be the first annual increase since 2006. The company reports fourth-quarter financial results Feb. 22.

Lowe’s Call Center Jobs

Home Depot and smaller Lowe’s Cos. are bolstering sales efforts as unemployment eases and consumer confidence rises.

Lowe’s is hiring 50,000 seasonal workers, up from 43,000 a year ago, Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based retailer, said today. The company also will add more than 275 jobs at a call center in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Last month, Lowe’s announced plans to add 8,000 to 10,000 weekend positions to improve staffing at the chain’s busiest time of the week. It also cut the jobs of 1,700 middle managers in stores.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment climbed to 75.1 in February, the highest level in eight months.

Household purchases, which make up about 70 percent of the economy, grew at a 4.4 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, the fastest since the first three months of 2006, Commerce Department figures showed Jan. 28.

Home Depot rose 11 cents to $37.69 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have advanced 7.5 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Burritt in Greensboro at cburritt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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