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    Home Depot to Purchase Some Kmart Stores

    CINCINNATI - Leading home-improvement chain Home Depot Inc. has agreed to buy as many as 24 stores from Kmart Holding Corp. for about $365 million, according to published reports.

    CINCINNATI - Leading home-improvement chain Home Depot Inc. has agreed to buy as many as 24 stores from Kmart Holding Corp. for about $365 million, according to published reports. The Kmart stores will be converted to Home Depots after the transfer of ownership.

    Kmart said it would decide the exact number of stores, locations, and amount to be paid in the next two months.

    Home Depot, which currently operates about 1,740 stores, plans to add 185 stores this year and spend $1 billion to renovate older outlets, Home Depot c.e.o. Robert Nardelli said.

    Kmart closed almost one-third of stores following bankruptcy in January 2002.

    "The emphasis at Kmart continues to be profits, not growth. By removing stores that are underperforming or that have relatively expensive, unattractive lease agreements in locations also deemed questionable to longer-term strategic goals, Kmart's management can further reduce expenses and balance sheet debt while increasing pre-tax profits," said Richard D. Hastings, retail analyst with Bernard Sands, a consulting firm in New York.

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