Home Depot Tops Estimates

Strong Q3 profit gains attributed to shoppers' increased spending.

Home Depot Inc., the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, reported a third-quarter profit gain that exceeded analysts’ estimates, spurred by an increasing number of customers who spent more.

Net income increased 12 percent to $934 million, or 60 cents a share, in the quarter that ended Oct. 30 from $834 million, or 51 cents, a year earlier, Atlanta-based Home Depot said today in a statement. Analysts projected 59 cents, the average of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Chief Executive Officer Frank Blake has lured consumers pinched by sagging home prices by shifting back-office employees to the sales floor and improving distribution from warehouses to stores. The number of transactions increased by 1.2 percent to 325.3 million while shoppers spent more, boosting the average ticket by 3 percent to $53.03.

“They are operating very efficiently and strongly in a terrible housing market and a prolonged economic downturn,” John Tomlinson, an analyst at ITG Investment Research, said today by telephone from New York. The firm doesn’t rate stocks. “They continue to gain market share.”

Sales at stores open at least a year advanced 4.2 percent, topping the average estimate for a 3.2 percent gain by six analysts. By that measure, Home Depot outpaced Lowe’s Cos. for a 10th straight quarter. The Mooresville, North Carolina-based rival reported yesterday that comparable-store sales advanced 0.7 percent in the quarter.

Home Depot’s revenue increased 4.4 percent to $17.3 billion, helped by spending related to Hurricane Irene in August and September.

The company said profit this year may be $2.38 a share, up from a previous forecast of $2.34. The company left unchanged its forecast for sales to increase by 2.5 percent.

The company boosted its quarterly dividend 16 percent to 29 cents a share, payable Dec. 15 to shareholders of record on Dec. 1.

Home Depot rose 0.5 percent to $38.25 at the close yesterday in New York. The shares have advanced 9.1 percent this year.

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