Calendar shift affects the Home Depot’s fourth quarter

Although the Home Depot’s overall sales missed analysts' expectations, the retailer said the calendar shift, which resulted in one fewer week in the fourth quarter compared to the prior-year quarter, affected its results.  

The world's largest home improvement retailer reported fourth-quarter total sales of $17.7 billion, down 3% from the same quarter last year, which benefited from an extra week in the calendar. On a 13-week basis, the company's sales actually increased 3.9%.

Comp-store sales in the quarter increased 4.4% company-wide and 4.9% in the United States. Net earnings were $1.01 billion, down slightly from $1.02 billion a year ago.

For the full year, the company pointed to strong performances across the board. Net sales increased 5.4% to $78.8 billion — excluding the 53rd week from the prior year, the increase was 7.2%. Comp-store sales increased 6.8% for the company, and increased 7.5% for the U.S.

"In 2013, we posted our strongest comp sales growth in 14 years as solid execution and the recovering housing market aided our performance," said Frank Blake, CEO and chairman.

Looking ahead, the company expects sales growth of about 4.8% in 2014, with comp-store sales growth of about 4.6%. The company's guidance also called for seven new stores.



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