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Home Depot Fis. Q3 Net Jumps 21%

11/19/2002 01:05:00 PM Eastern

Atlanta - The Home Depot has credited sales of major appliances, among other products, with pushing up the price of the average consumer purchase. At the same time, sales of big-ticket items, such as majaps, helped boost net income in Home Depot's fiscal third quarter by nearly 21 percent, to $940 million, up from $778 million in the year-ago period.

"Throughout the quarter, we saw customers respond to great values in areas like appliances, flooring and power tools, supporting growth in our average ticket," said Bob Nardelli, chairman/CEO.

Sales in the third quarter, ended Nov. 3, climbed 9 percent, reaching $14.5 billion, up from $13.3 billion in the same three months in 2001.

However, comp-store sales dropped 2 percent in the three months, due mainly to a sluggish retail environment, lower lumber prices and an aggressive rollout of new products that tended to disrupt customer traffic.

"The current retail environment, coupled with merchandising changes and resets within our stores, affected customer traffic," Nardelli said. This past summer, Home Depot had forecast a 2 percent to 4 percent comp-store increase.

Home Depot also said its strategy to locate several stores in one market hurt sales during the third quarter. But the chain defended the move, saying multiple units in a single marketplace help the retailer achieve market dominance.

In the fourth quarter, the retailer expects same-store sales to decrease 3 percent to 5 percent. This compares with a 5 percent comp-store increase in the fourth quarter of 2001.

For the nine months, sales climbed to $45 billion, up from $40.1 billion in the same period last year. Net income hit $3 billion, up from $2.3 billion a year ago.