The Home Depot, which has suffered under the weight of the collapsing U.S. housing market, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $54 million US yesterday mostly due to its plan to shut four home-improve­ment brands.

North America’s largest home improvement retailer lost three cents a share during the quarter, compared with a profit of $671 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago.

Last month Home Depot said it planned to close Expo Design Centers, YardBIRDS, Design Centers and HD Bath, a bath remodeling business. The company has been hurt as fewer of its customers are buying new homes and spending money on repairs and remodeling.

Home Depot has said it plans to eliminate 7,000 jobs, or about two per cent of its 300,000 workers. Most of the cuts affect workers at the four busi­nesses being closed.

At the end of 2008, Home Depot had more than 2,274 stores, including 176 in Canada.

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