Why Home Depot deliberately went without aisle numbers for 20 years

The Home Depot deliberately had no aisle numbers in its stores for the first 20 years of its existence. So writes Jim Inglis, former EVP of merchandising at the company. In his recent book on home improvement retailing principles, Breakthrough Retailing: How a Bleeding Orange Culture Can Change Everything, Inglis explains why The Home Depot chose to leave its aisles un-numbered.

“Early in our history, we emphasized to our store sales associates that they should never point the customer in a direction; they should always escort the individual to the appropriate counter or introduce them to the person who could provide the assistance they required. Hence, there was simply no need for aisle numbers that could tempt people to underperform by just directing the customer to an aisle.”

(You can watch and meet Jim Inglis live at the Hardlines Conference in Whistler, B.C., on Oct. 17 and 18, 2023. For more information and to register, visit Hardlines.ca.)