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HIRI tackles new approaches and deep insights

BY Ken Clark

The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) is preparing for 2013 Spring Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The April 17 one-day event carries the theme of “New approaches for deep insights into home improvement." 

"Clearly the home improvement market is poised for solid growth in 2013,” said Fred Miller, HIRI executive director. “This is the time for all participants to fully understand their customers so they can align themselves in a way that maximizes the opportunity for their business. At the conference we will be discussing the latest in tools and techniques to help companies make the right decisions."

The agenda includes presentations from The Futures Group, National Analysts Worldwide, Decision Analyst, IHS Global insight, Field Agent, The Stevenson Co. and Ipsos. 

The event will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando. For information, visit the HIRI website.

HIRI is a membership-based, independent, not-for-profit organization of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry. Its mission is to be recognized as the primary authority for effective, useful information about home improvement products and services in North America.

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Home Depot vs. Lowe’s: Q4 comparison

BY Ken Clark

On Tuesday, Lowe’s reported its fourth-quarter financial results. On Wednesday, it was Home Depot’s turn. How do the two home center giants compare?   

On the surface, Home Depot’s 13.9% sales gain stands in stark contrast to Lowe’s and its fourth-quarter sales decline of 5.0%. But Home Depot had an extra week in its fourth quarter calendar, while Lowe’s had one less week compared with the previous year. 

Here are the side-by-side key business metrics, adjusted to uniform 13-week periods. 

Q4 total sales
Home Depot: $17.0 billion
Lowe’s: $11.0 billion 

Q4 total sales increase
Home Depot: 6.3%
Lowe’s: 2.8%

Q4 comparable-store sales
Home Depot: 7.0%
Lowe’s:  1.9%

FY total sales
Home Depot: $73.6 billion
Lowe’s: $50.5 billion 

FY total sales increase
Home Depot: 4.5%
Lowe’s: 2.2% 

FY comparable-store sales
Home Depot: 4.6%
Lowe’s: 2.2%

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Home Depot net earnings jump 31.9%

BY Ken Clark

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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