February 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Home Depot's spring hiring will match 2013 as housing gains

Home Depot Inc., the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, plans to add the same number of part-time workers for its busiest sales season as it did in 2013, capitalizing on rising demand for home renovations.

More than 80,000 seasonal employees will be hired to prepare for the spring, when Americans traditionally spend more to fix up their homes, Tim Crow, executive vice president of human resources for the Atlanta-based chain, said in a telephone interview. That matches the company’s seasonal hires for last year and for 2012, he said.

Home Depot, which has 71 Michigan stores, will hire about 3,100 part-time seasonal workers in the Great Lakes State, including 1,500 workers for 33 stores in Metro Detroit.

“Spring is our Christmas,” Crow said. “After a winter like we’re having this year, everyone will be excited to get outdoors.”

Home Depot, which has almost 2,000 stores in the U.S., is adding workers as it benefits from surging home values in the past two years that have encouraged owners to spend on their properties. The chain’s sales gained 9.4 percent to $79.4 billion in the 12 months through Nov. 3.

The shares rose 0.1 percent to $76.81 at 9:38 a.m. in New York. The stock gained 16 percent in the 12 months through yesterday, compared with a 20 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The nationwide median price for an existing single-family home rose 10.1 percent to $196,900 in the fourth quarter, from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Home Depot is adding workers to run cash registers and help customers in its garden centers and on the sales floor, Crow said.

Thousands of the seasonal hires are likely to stay beyond the spring after about half were promoted to permanent positions last year, he said. The chain had 340,000 employees as of Feb. 2, 2013.

One new part of this year’s hiring will focus on training workers to use the retailer’s mobile shopping application to improve customer service, Crow said.

Associates will use the app to locate products and also recommend items from its website that aren’t found in stores.