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Home Depot earnings down 24.3 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot’s second-quarter net earnings dropped 24.3 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.59 billion in the year-ago period. Net sales were $20.99 billion, down 5.4 percent from $22.18 billion in the same period last year.

Comparable-store sales fell 7.9 percent.

The results were in part weaker because of comparisons of the 53-week fiscal 2007 calendar to the 52-week fiscal 2008 calendar. Without that difference, comparable-store sales would have been off by slightly less — down 7.2 percent, the company said. Second-quarter sales were negatively impacted by $160 million because of this comparison.

“We continue to see pressure on our market and the consumer, generally,” said Frank Blake, Home Depot chairman and CEO. “Despite the macroeconomic conditions, we saw improved execution in our merchandising and operations initiatives during the past quarter. I am very proud of what our associates have accomplished in a difficult environment.”

For the full year, Home Depot anticipates a sales decline of 5 percent overall and an earnings-per-share decline of 24 percent due to “continued softness in the housing and home improvement markets.”

At the end of the second quarter, Home Depot operated a total of 2,257 retail stores, including 1,965 Home Depot stores in the United States, 167 stores in Canada, 72 stores in Mexico, 12 stores in China, as well as two Home Depot Design Centers, five Yardbirds stores and 34 EXPO Design Center locations.

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Kuiken Brothers opens new DC

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Kuiken Brothers, the nine-unit chain of New Jersey lumberyards and design centers, will hold an Aug. 19 groundbreaking on a new distribution facility in Succasunna, a community in Roxbury Township. The 12-acre facility, built on the site of a Wickes lumberyard destroyed in a fire, will encompass 130,000 square feet of covered storage. Kuiken Brothers already operates a design center, KB Concepts, on the same site.

“This has been on the drawing board for five years,” company president Doug Kuiken told Home Channel News. The distribution center will serve all of the Kuiken Brothers locations with dimensional lumber, panels, engineered wood products and other building materials, Kuiken said.

Ranked No. 64 on the HCN Top 350 Pro Dealer Scoreboard, Kuiken Brothers serves the northern New Jersey and southern New York markets from Fair Lawn, Emerson, Midland Park, Ogdensburg, Wantage, Garfield, Succasunna, Roseland and Warwick, N.Y. Revenues in 2007 were $130 million.

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Lowe’s earnings decline 7.9 percent in Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s weathered market headwinds well in the second quarter, beating earnings estimates and seeing gains in lawn and garden and a spike in consumer spending due to economic stimulus checks.

Net earnings declined 7.9 percent to $938 million, down from $1.02 billion in the same period last year. Net sales rose 2.4 percent to $14.5 billion from $14.2 billion in last year’s second quarter.

Comparable-store sales declined 5.3 percent, a better-than-anticipated result for stores opened more than one year.

“Our sales results for the quarter, while better than our forecast, reflect the realities of the continuing macroeconomic pressures on our industry,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Niblock said the retailer saw “relative strength” in seasonal sales, particularly lawn and garden, in large part because of comparisons to a drought period in last year’s second quarter. He added that the company saw a boost in sales presumed to be from economic stimulus tax rebate checks that were issued to a large number of consumers in the second quarter.

Still, “weakness in bigger ticket projects continues, particularly in markets most impacted by the housing downturn,” Niblock said.

In the second quarter, Lowe’s opened 23 new stores.  Currently, the retailer operates 1,577 stores in the United States and Canada. In the third quarter, the company said it expects to open 38 new stores. Lowe’s projects a sales increase of 1 percent to 2 percent in the third quarter, alongside a comparable-store sales decline of 5 percent to 7 percent.

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