Home improvement retail major Home Depot is closing a major call centre in Brandon, Tampa, Florida, and laying off the 750 people working there. It is also closing two other call centres - one in Dallas and the other in Chicago - each of which employs about 100 people.
The retail giant, which leads the home improvement warehouse store market in the US, said the shutdown is a prudent business decision and part of a wider initiative to bring some customer service functions back into the stores.
Employees at the call centre mainly told Home Depot customers the prices of goods and scheduled appointments for installation services. When they close on 28 January, the stores will handle those tasks.
The company has said it will provide outplacement services and host career fairs to help people locate new jobs, but many employees are frustrated they will not be offered any kind of severance to allow them to transition to new jobs. However, workers can also apply for positions at local Home Depot stores.
The nation''''s largest home improvement retailer, Home Depot is hamstrung by the downturn in the housing market, which has dampened demand for building materials, as well as the general economic slump, which has depressed consumer confidence and slowed retail spending.
The company is also just getting to grips with the highly publicised ouster of former CEO and chairman Robert Nardelli in January. He is credited with doubling the size of the company between 2000 and 2005, but blamed for failing to improve the company''''s stock price during his tenure. Nardelli, whose severance package was estimated to be more than $200 million, was then hired as CEO and chairman of auto major Chrysler.