Home Depot net earnings jump 31.9%

Playing with an extra week in its calendar, Atlanta-based Home Depot’s fourth-quarter sales increased 13.9% to $18.2 billion, as the company’s comps increased 7.1%.

The company posted net earnings of $1.0 billion in the fourth quarter, up 31.9% compared with last year’s fourth quarter. 

“We ended the year with a strong performance as our business benefited from a continued recovery in the housing market coupled with sales related to repairs in the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. 

The fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 consisted of 14 weeks compared with 13 weeks for the prior year. Excluding the extra week, the company’s fourth-quarter sales increased 6.3%. 

For the full year, Home Depot’s sales were $74.8 billion, up 6.2% from the prior year. Comp-store sales for the year were up 4.6% -- up 4.9% for U.S. stores. Excluding a 53rd week in its fiscal calendar, 2012 sales increased 4.5%. 

Net earnings increased 16.8% for the full year to $4.535 billion.

In 52-week fiscal 2013, the company expects sales growth of about 2% and comp-store sales growth of about 3%.   

At the end of the year, the retailer operated a total of 2,256 stores. It plans to open nine new stores in 2013.

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