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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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Lowe’s posts mixed results for fourth quarter

BY Ken Clark

Comp-store sales were up at Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s, but fourth-quarter sales and earnings declined. 

Lowe’s fourth-quarter sales declined 5.0% to $11.0 billion, the company reported Monday morning. Comp-store sales increased 1.9%. Net earnings declined 10.6% to $288 million.

Despite the fourth-quarter declines in sales and earnings, CEO Robert Niblock called the performance "solid," as the company’s financial report was being compared against an extra week in the previous periods. He added: “Our results are a testament to the team’s success in driving more balanced performance across the quarter, our response to the demand created by recovery efforts in the wake of superstorm Sandy, and the momentum we’re creating with our initiatives."

For the full year, sales were $50.5 billion, up 0.6% over fiscal year 2011. Comp-store sales for the full year increased 1.4%. Net earnings for the full year increased 6.5% to $1.949 billion.

As of Feb. 1, Lowe’s operated 1,754 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Looking ahead, Lowe’s expects comp-store sales to improve to an increase of 3.5% next year. The company also intends to add 10 new stores in fiscal 2013.

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Industry Dashboard for Feb. 25, 2013

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Don’t look now, but gas prices are creeping higher, according to the AAA national average. Elsewhere on the Dashboard, Tractor Supply leads a mixed performance on the Stock Roundup.

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