Three months after selling off its HD Supply unit, a wholesale program that catered to home builders, The Home Depot has launched yet another initiative to increase business from building and home improvement contractors. The new push aims to win back professionals who no longer shop at the stores, and to shore up sales to contractors who continue to buy and account for 35% of the big box's annual sales.

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Describing the push as a "total refocus and recommitment," John Gordon, the retail chain's director of professional business, says The Home Depot will put an emphasis on better service to contractors in the form of improved order tracking and delivery to jobsites; doing a better job of stocking high-quality materials frequently requested by contractors at local stores; and providing a larger and more knowledgeable sales force to facilitate contractor requests.

Contractor discounts on bulk purchases also would increase, according to published reports.

A failure to provide professional discounts has caused many builders to turn to competitors, such as local lumberyards and other building material suppliers–including Lowe's, The Home Depot's largest competitor.