Atlanta-based The Home Depot last week reported first-quarter net earnings of $1.0 billion, or $0.53 per diluted share, compared with $1.5 billion, or $0.70 per diluted share, in the same period in fiscal 2006.
Sales for the first quarter totaled $21.6 billion, a 0.6-percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Total sales in the retail segment declined 4.3 percent to $18.5 billion, and comparable store sales declined 7.6 percent. Total sales in the HD Supply segment grew by 46 percent to $3.1 billion, reflecting sales from acquired businesses.
"The housing market continues to be a challenge, and erratic weather conditions across the United States negatively affected our spring selling season," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO.
Earlier this year the company announced that it was conducting a review of strategic alternatives for its HD Supply segment, including a possible sale. That review is ongoing, and the company will wait to comment on it until it is completed.
"We believe the home improvement market will remain soft throughout 2007," said Blake. "We plan to continue our reinvestment plans for the long-term health of the business, understanding that it will put short-term pressure on earnings."
At the beginning of the year, the company said its earnings per share, on a 52-week basis, would decline 4 to 9 percent in fiscal 2007. Based on first-quarter performance, the company now believes it will be at the low end of its earnings per share guidance for the year.
At the end of the first quarter, the company operated a total of 2,170 retail stores, which included 1,895 The Home Depot stores in the United States, 155 stores in Canada, 63 stores in Mexico, and 12 stores in China. Home Depot operates rental departments in more than 1,200 of its stores.
Home Depot Rentals is No. 5 on the RER 100.