Home Depot’s constructive Q4 includes 7% comp

Fourth quarter same store sales at The Home Depot advanced 7% and profits swelled 29% to $1 billion, or 68 cents, compared to profits of $774 million or 50 cents a share the prior year.

The world's largest home improvement retailer reported sales of $18.2 billion for the 14 week fourth quarter ended February 3, compared to sales of $16 billion for the 13 week fourth quarter ended January 29, 2012. Without the additional $1.2 billion in sales caused by the extra week, sales would have increased by a still respectable 6.3% Profit comparisons also benefited from the additional week by approximately seven cents a share.

For the year, sales increased 6.2% to $74.8 billion and total company same store sales increased 4.6%. Excluding the extra week from the recently ended fiscal year, sales increased by 4.5%. Full year profits increased to $3 a share compared to $2.47 and were negatively affected by a 10 cent charge related to the closing of stores in China.

"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, Home Depot’s chairman and CEO. "I'd like to thank our associates for their hard work and dedication."

The company also increased its quarterly dividend by 34% to 39 cents a share and authorized a massive $17 billion share repurchase program with a target completion date of January 2016. Between dividends and share repurchase activity, Blake said Home Depot has returned $37.5 billion to shareholders during the past decade.

Looking forward, the company expects sales in the current 52 week fiscal year compared to the just ended 53 week year to increase by 2% through a combination of a 3% same store sales increase and the addition of nine new stores. Capital expenditures are expected to total $1.5 billion.

Home Depot ended the year with 2,256 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.


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