Back when the economy really started to change, I recall Home Depot being one of the first anchors to pull back on new store expansion, so I have kept somewhat of a watchful eye on them.  The article below is a very basic view into the Free Cash Flow (FCF) of the company and how it compares to competitors as well as other well known anchors.  As far as FCF is concerned in this brief comparison, Home Depot comes out ahead of the others.  This explanation of FCF will help too in your monitoring of other companies.  

Motley Fool Article