updated 9/7/2004 5:03:22 PM ET 2004-09-07T21:03:22

Major home improvement retailers rationed generators in Florida on Tuesday as Frances left the state in short supply of some items people are buying at a frenzied pace to repair their homes damaged by the powerful storm.

The Home Depot Inc., the nation’s largest home improvement store chain, said there is a nationwide shortage of generators.

Those that are available are being pulled from other stores as far away as California and New York, sent to stores in Florida and sold to customers in the greatest need, spokesman Don Harrison said.

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s Companies Inc. also was rationing generators in Florida as well as sending in 450 employees from stores in other states to help staff stores in areas affected by the hurricane, spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said.

The nation’s No. 2 home improvement chain was working with manufacturers to pull available generators off the production line and ship them directly to Florida stores. Ahearn said Lowe’s has shipped over 900 truckloads of supplies to stores in Florida in the last week.

That includes 15,000 generators, which is on top of 25,000 generators the chain shipped to the state amid the devastation of Hurricane Charley last month.

Atlanta-based Home Depot sent 435 truckloads of products to Florida on Monday alone. Harrison said the chain is readying 600 employees from stores in other states to help staff locations in Florida communities affected by Frances.

In trading Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Home Depot were up 16 cents to close at $37.64, while shares of Lowe’s gained 45 cents to close at $52.80.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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