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Profits Up for Home Depot

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Home Improvement retailer, the Home Depot reported a 14% rise in first-quarter profit on a $1.4 billion or 8.1% increase in sales. Comparable store sales grew by 2.1%.

The company reported first quarter net earnings of $1.2 billion, $0.57 per diluted share, an increase of 16.3%, for the first quarter, compared with $1.1 billion, $0.49 per diluted share, for last year’s first quarter.

“Through the hard work and dedication of our 325,000 associates we effectively managed our business, produced solid earnings growth and stayed on strategy,” said Chairman, President, and CEO Bob Nardelli. “Our relentless focus on our customers is delivering solid progress in key satisfaction metrics.”

During the first quarter, according to a press release, the company increased its annual dividend by 23% while the Board of Directors approved an additional $2 billion in share repurchases, bringing the total authorized share repurchases under the plan to $9 billion. During the first quarter, the company repurchased $1.4 billion or 36 million shares. Over the past four years, the company has repurchased $8.1 billion of its outstanding shares.

The company announced its intent to dispose of its interest in the underlying real estate of 15 EXPO Design Center (“EXPO”) stores. At some point in the future, these stores will close.

“Excluding the impact of the EXPO announcement, we leveraged expenses in the first quarter, demonstrating our ability to execute,” said the company’s executive vice president and CFO, Carol Tome.

“We continue to deliver strong rates of return on the capital we deploy, with a return on invested capital of 22 percent,” added Tome. At the end of the first quarter, the company reported total assets of $42 billion and total stockholders’ equity of $24 billion. The company reconfirmed its fiscal 2005 sales growth guidance of 9-12% and its earnings per share growth guidance of 10-14%.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Profits Up for Home Depot
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