Home Depot’s Hurricane Plan Includes 35 Truckloads of Generators

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Home Depot’s Hurricane Plan Includes 35 Truckloads of Generators(Bloomberg) -- Home Depot Inc. has sent 35 truckloads of generators to stores in areas hit by tropical storm Barry, where local residents are grappling with power outages.The home-improvement retailer has dispatched 250 additional truckloads of supplies to the 28 stores in Louisiana and Mississippi that were in the storm’s path, according to Jeff Partin, Home Depot’s director of corporate security, emergency preparedness and business continuity. Those stores closed a few hours early on Saturday night but all were back open as of Sunday morning, he said.“The rain levels didn’t materialize as forecast,” Partin said in an interview Sunday. “But we became aware that power outages were steadily increasing. Generators are a big item.”Entergy Louisiana LLC, the main provider in the state with 1.08 million customers, reported that about 71,600 were affected. Almost 43,500 out of Cleco Corp.’s nearly 285,000 customers were without power. Home Depot didn’t see the need to create a separate command center at its Atlanta headquarters to deal with Barry, which was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane. The retailer has done that for more devastating natural disasters, such as last year’s Hurricane Michael and 2017’s Harvey.“We didn’t think it was warranted to stand up several hundred people to watch it rain,” Partin said.Post-Storm SpendingHurricanes can be a boon for home-improvement retailers like Home Depot and rival Lowe’s Cos. Additional sales of plywood, pumps, generators and other items in the wake of 2017’s destructive hurricanes in Florida and Texas boosted Home Depot’s sales in the fourth quarter of that year by $380 million. But in the same quarter the following year, lower hurricane spending weighed on the company’s performance and shares.Lowe’s, which has 46 stores in the affected region, said it activated its emergency command center located in Moorsville, North Carolina. “Our command center is active and working to get needed products to our stores as quickly as possible,” a Lowe’s spokeswoman said by email.Barry came ashore near Intracoastal City -- about 125 miles west of New Orleans -- in Louisiana and as of 10 a.m. local time the top sustained winds had declined to 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. As much as 25 inches (64 centimeters) of rain could fall in some areas of the state, according to the NHC. The storm will weaken to a depression Sunday and could degenerate completely by Monday or Tuesday, the hurricane center said.\--With assistance from Brian K. Sullivan.To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at mboyle20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at tharrison5@bloomberg.net, Kevin Miller, Tony CzuczkaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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