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Earnings jump 12.4% at Home Depot

BY Brae Canlen

Home Depot today reported sales of $20.6 billion for the second quarter of 2012, a 1.7% increase from the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Comparable sales for U.S. stores were positive 2.6%, and overall same-store sales for the second quarter were positive 2.1%.

Net earnings for the world’s largest home improvement retailer were $1.53 billion for the second quarter, which ended July 29. This compares with net earnings of $1.36 billion in the same period a year ago, reflecting a 12.4% increase. 

"As expected, second-quarter sales reflected the pull forward of seasonal activity into the first quarter,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. "But we saw continued demand for core products and delivered second-quarter earnings above our expectations.” 

The Atlanta retailer expects fiscal 2012 sales will increase approximately 4.6% from the prior year on a 53-week basis.

At the end of the second quarter, Home Depot operated a total of 2,255 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.

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NY to allow tax exemption for LEED buildings

BY Brae Canlen

A bill signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month is starting to trickle down through local municipalities, which must now decide whether to adopt a tax exemption for buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or other green initiative standards.

Senate Bill 1462, which became law on July 18, 2012, authorizes a municipal corporation to provide a real property tax exemption for certified green building improvements. Municipal corporations will now decide whether to adopt the exemption. Companies considering construction of a potentially qualifying improvement should monitor local legislative activity to see whether the relevant localities have adopted the exemption and should start planning for construction projects scheduled for 2013.

Under the authorizing statute, the exemption would apply to construction projects beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013. Local law, however, may specify a later date. The exemption would be available only to the extent that the improvement increases the assessed value of the real property. To qualify, the real property improvement must be documented by a building report, and the value of the improvement project must exceed $10,000. Ordinary maintenance and repair projects will not qualify as eligible improvement projects.

For property that is certified by an accredited LEED professional as meeting the certified, silver, gold or platinum designations, the exemptions are equal to 100% of the increase in assessed value as a result of the improvement in the first year. The exemption is gradually phased out over 10 years, with 20% exempted for platinum buildings in year 10 and no exemption in year 10 for certified, silver and gold buildings. The LEED professional must file a copy of the LEED certification with the local assessor’s office, and the assessor must approve the certification.

A more detailed analysis of the new statute can be found at Ryan.com, a global tax services firm headquartered in Dallas.

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Monthly sales show uptick in July

BY Ken Clark

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales were up slightly in July, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, July monthly sales were $403.9 billion, up 0.8% from the previous month, and up 4.1% from July last year.

For building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS classification 444), July sales were $23.46 billion, up 1.0% from both June 2012 and July 2011.

In other data:

• Non-store retailers (code 454) increased 11.8% from a year ago;
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (code 451) increased 10.6% from a year ago; and
• Furniture and home furnishing stores (code 442) showed a 9.9% increase over July 2011.

 

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