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    Home Depot Replaces Kroger as No. 2 U.S. Retailer

    CHICAGO - Home improvement retail chain Home Depot Inc. pushed aside Kroger Co. to become the second-largest U.S. retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to the 2002 tally of sales by Stores magazine.

    CHICAGO - Home improvement retail chain Home Depot Inc. pushed aside Kroger Co. to become the second-largest U.S. retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to the 2002 tally of sales by Stores magazine.

    Home Depot's $53.55 billion in sales have been boosted in part by historically low mortgage rates that have spurred sales of existing homes. Kroger, which brought in sales of $50.1 billion, continues to face competition from Wal-Mart, easily the No. 1 retailer with nearly $220 billion in sales, according to the rankings for 2002.

    "Wal-Mart now claims to be the country's leading grocery retailer," an article accompanying the new rankings said. "It is certainly the leading retailer in any merchandise category it wants to be."

    Sears, Roebuck and Co. retained its No. 4 spot and Target Corp. replaced bankrupt discount chain Kmart Corp. at No. 5. Rounding out the top 10 are Albertson's Inc. at No. 6, Kmart at No. 7, Costco Wholesale Corp. at No. 8 Safeway at No. 9 and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. at No. 10. Last year, Penney was the eighth largest retailer.

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