The company was founded in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, and grew rapidly, sales topping $1 billion annually by 1986. As of 2002, sales are $52.8 billion annually. Home Depot employs 300,000 people.
Home Depot also owns a chain of higher-end home decorating and appliance stores, EXPO Design Center, as well as a number of specialist Home Depot stores.
Since 1991 the company has become a large supporter of athletics, sponsoring the United States and Canadian Olympic teams, and launching a program to offer employment to athletes that fully allowed for their training and competition schedules.
Home Depot has come under criticism from some environmental groups for selling old growth rainforest lumber, including lauan, mahogany and other woods. As with other large retailers, there is also criticism that they are driving older, smaller businesses out through predatory pricing and other tactics.