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Home Depot Expands Its MakerBot Pilot

ATLANTA — The Home Depot has expanded its “MakerBot Experience” 3D-printing test from 12 to 39 stores.

The in-store Experience displays showcase the vendor’s 3D printing products in specially designed interactive kiosks. The kiosks are manned by MakerBotprovided staff who offer customers demonstrations and 3D-printed keepsakes.

The No. 1 home-improvement chain also carries the MakerBot line of Replicator printers and PLA filaments on its e-commerce site. “We are really excited to expand MakerBot’s presence in physical stores,” noted Jenny Lawton, acting CEO of MakerBot. “The addition of these new locations will bring the magic of 3D printing with a MakerBot Replicator directly to customers.” The Home Depot began its test of 3D printing last summer.

In other Home Depot news, the company reported a nearly 14 percent surge in net earnings, to $1.5 billion, for its fiscal third quarter, ended Nov. 2. Sales rose 5.4 percent, to $20.5 billion, and U.S. comps increased 5.8 percent.

“During the quarter we saw strong performance across all geographies led by growth in transactions and continued strength in the core of the store,” said president/CEO Craig Menear.

On an earnings call, Menear credited the U.S. housing recovery with driving the gains, and noted that nearly 40 percent of online orders are picked up in-store.

Majaps were notably absent from a quarterly assessment of category performance, although merchandising executive VP Ted Decker cited surprising strength in appliance sales online, and “solid comps” for grills, which were fueled by Labor Day and fall promotions.

He also promised “extreme values” and “some amazing offers on appliances” for Black Friday and Cyber Week, underscoring the increasingly promotional environment for white-goods.

Menear added that it was difficult to determine whether the company’s recent data breach, which potentially comprised 56 million credit cards, had any material impact on sales.