Home Depot posted net earnings for its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended May 5 of $1.4 billion, or one dollar per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $1.2 billion, or $0.83 per diluted share in the same period a year ago. Total revenue for the quarter was $19.7 billion, a 2.9-percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Comparable store sales rose 2.6 percent, and comparable sales for U.S. stores rose 3.3 percent.

While some analysts expected a greater increase and expressed concern that a relatively soft quarter signaled a slowdown, Home Depot officials said the severe winter impacted first quarter sales. Company officials told a conference call with investors that May sales have been strong.

“The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of the Atlanta-based firm. “But we had solid results in non-weather impacted markets and expect our sales for the year to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided.”

The company reaffirmed that it expects fiscal 2014 sales to rise about 4.8 percent compared to fiscal 2013, and expects diluted earnings per share to increase about 17.6 percent to $4.42 for the year.

At the end of the first quarter, Home Depot operated 2,263 retail stores in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.

Home Depot has rental departments in about 1,265 stores and reported $491 million in rental volume in 2013. Home Depot Rentals is No. 4 on the RER 100.