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Home Depot(HD - Get Report) is having a great year. The home improvement retail giant has seen its shares rally more than 15% so far in 2013, besting the broad market's run by a factor of two year-to-date. Home Depot's scale makes it the largest home improvement retailer in the world, with more than 2,250 stores spread across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Strong home improvement spending has provided HD with an attractive tailwind in the past few years, and as housing numbers continue to improve, so too should investors' fortunes. While Home Depot entered the financial crisis as the number-two most attractive home improvement retailer (after rival
Lowe's (LOW)), an aggressive restructuring effort undid the growth-at-all-costs strategy that left HD overleveraged and underperforming. Today, this stock's price performance speaks for itself.
Home Depot still has some attractive growth opportunities ahead of it. With solid exposure to Mexico already, tapping Latin American growth is a viable strategy for the firm in the years ahead. While HD decided last year to scrap its expansion plans in China, investors should applaud management's willingness to change course in one of its most volatile markets. If HD can successfully carry over its svelte supply chain system to new markets, success should follow.