'Key Partner' IBM Provides Technology and Services

ATLANTA, GA -- Sept. 30, 2002 -- The Home Depot (NYSE: HD) today announced a comprehensive, enterprise-wide computer initiative that enables the world's largest home improvement retailer to take maximum advantage of its past successes in planning its future strategies.

"Today, we are announcing the launch of a new computer initiative that will help position our company for the future," said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO, The Home Depot. "We have tremendous amounts of data on sales, products, services, store performance, and customer buying patterns.

"This new data-warehousing capability will significantly improve our ability to rapidly analyze the elements of success in all parts of our business and do a much more effective job of forecasting and planning. This is the kind of technology Home Depot needs to help make decisions that will keep us in the forefront of our industry."

Home Depot CIO Bob DeRodes said the company has the opportunity to "leapfrog the industry with the technology and tools that are available to us today."

"We are very excited to take this step at this time," said DeRodes. "Home Depot is positioned to maximize the advantage this technology can bring to our business. As we begin this initiative, we know more about how to do this than anyone who previously built an enterprise-wide data warehouse, and we can do it much faster.

"Today, we can leverage newer technologies that were not proven when other retailers began building their data-warehousing capabilities. We are going to have better information than ever, and we will be able to get to it much faster and in much more useable fashion. This is a big opportunity for our company."

Home Depot's data warehouse environment will enable the IBM DB2 software and its eServer pSeries Regatta hardware to devote all of its processing power to the management and manipulation of data from all parts of the company, including operations, merchandising, finance and human resources.

"We are very pleased with our partnership with IBM, and look forward to making their technology work for Home Depot," said DeRodes. "With our collective experience, we expect to have our first applications up and running in the fourth quarter of this year, as we move toward unparalleled capability."

"Advances in IBM's data management software are enabling leading companies like Home Depot to gain a competitive advantage by effectively gathering, analyzing and using information to better serve their customers," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. "The Home Depot has built a legendary culture based on customer service. With a powerful IBM data warehouse as part of its e-business infrastructure, Home Depot will now be able to leverage technology and information even more effectively to enhance its business and customer service."

Home Depot intends to use its new systems to focus even more closely on the needs of its customers -- individually as well as collectively.

"We know that more timely analysis of customer's buying patterns will help us better anticipate their needs," said DeRodes. "Now, we will be able to do a better job of predicting these needs and providing the right assortment of goods and services for each set of customers, whether they are do-it-yourself enthusiasts or professionals. This is an important component of our ongoing business strategy."

DeRodes named Kevin Murphy, vice president, Information Management, to lead the project. Murphy pointed out that Home Depot has been accumulating this data for years. However, he said it has been stored on the company's operations-oriented mainframe computers.

"The challenge with that approach is providing the pure horsepower and end-user tools for data correlation and analysis," said Murphy. "At our rate of growth, we simply can't continue to satisfy the massive information processing requirements within our existing operational systems. We need to have the ability to expand our data warehouse capabilities as we grow. IBM's architecture's gives us virtually unlimited scalability and provide an open platform for integrating world class analytical tools."

Founded in 1978, The Home Depot(R) is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer with fiscal 2001 sales of $53.6 billion. The company employs approximately 296,000 associates and has 1,453 stores in 49 states, Puerto Rico, seven Canadian provinces, and Mexico. The company for the second year in a row was named sixth Most Admired Company in America by Fortune magazine, which has also ranked it as America's Most Admired Specialty Retailer for eight consecutive years. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

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