February 20, 1999 8:55 AM PST

Home Depot builds e-commerce plan

Home Depot may get into e-commerce this year, but don't expect it to become a clone of Amazon.com anytime soon.

The retailing giant plans to begin selling on the Net in the second half of the year, chief executive Arthur Blank told the Dow Jones news service. But he cautioned that the Net wouldn't be a "significant sales mover for a long time" because its customers prefer to browse in stores and deal with sales clerks, according to the report.

Analysts have been closely watching for signs of Home Depot's Net strategy because of its size.

Home Depot's Web site reads: "We at Home Depot understand that there is a great demand for our products to be available online for the purpose of viewing, searching, and yes, purchasing. Be assured that we are researching the best and most viable products for you to buy online."

Until now, Home Depot executives have been reluctant to discuss any timetable for e-commerce plans. Like other brick-and-mortar retailers, Home Depot worries about "cannibalizing" sales from its stores.


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