When Frank Blake became chairman and CEO of The Home Depot in 2007 — after then-CEO Robert Nardelli stepped down amid criticism of his pay package and management style — the first thing he did was focus on the core of the company. The retailer operated a variety of different store banners and formats, including Expo Design Center, YardBIRDS and HD Bath, and Blake cut them all. He also took a half-billion-dollar write-off to stop building new stores. “For the last 11 years, The Home Depot built very few stores as we grew sales by approximately $40 million,” he said during a keynote at the Aptos Engage conference, held April 16-19 in Las Vegas.

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