At a time when shoppers are forking over more money for everything from groceries to gas, The Home Depot Inc. is planning to put some prices in reverse.

The hardware chain is set to start cutting prices this week on as many as 1,200 items from trash bags to toilets as it kicks off its latest effort to boost anemic sales and win back customers who've ditched the home improvement retailer for its competitors.

Prices will be cut between 5 percent and 50 percent — although the company couldn't say what the average reduction will be — on about one out of every 25 items found on store shelves.

The discounts will begin showing up in stores this week. The chain is trying to retain its top spot by striking back at competitors such as Lowe's Cos. Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The marked-down items also include energy-saving devices such as insulation and thermostats and products deemed "project starters" such as paint and toilets that are the building blocks for do-it-yourself tasks.