Atlanta - Strength across the country and across the majority of selling departments pushed up fiscal third quarter sales at Home Depot by 14.7 percent, hitting $16.6 billion, compared with $14.5 billion in the year-ago period.
The home improvement retailer also claimed record third quarter earnings of $1.1 billion, up from $940 million in the same three months a year earlier. Comp-store sales increased 7.8 percent, the company's best quarterly comp performance since the fourth quarter in 1999.
'Our continued focus on sales, service and execution is resulting in innovative and distinctive product selection and compelling values,' said Bob Nardelli, chairman/CEO. 'In some of our most competitive markets we posted double-digit comps driven by growth in the number of customer transactions and the amount of the average ticket,' he said.
Customer transactions jumped to 313 million in the third quarter, ended Nov. 2, a 9.4 percent gain over the 286 million registered in the same period in 2002. The average sale per transaction increased 4.9 percent in the three months, to a record $52.10, from $49.66 year on year, with appliances one category named as enjoying a higher average ticket in the period.
Home Depot continued to emphasize its service business in the third quarter, growing this by 45 percent. It also acquired in the three months two companies that provide installation services for customers.
For the nine months, Home Depot sales hit $49.7 billion, up from $45 billion in the third quarter of 2002. Net earnings increased to $3.4 billion during the period, compared with $3 billion in the prior-year third quarter. Customer transactions for the three months climbed to 959 million, up from 893 million year over year, while the average ticket rung up $51.30 in sales, compared with $50.07 in the same period a year ago.
During the third quarter, Home Depot added 36 new stores, with the total store number reaching 1,643 at the end of the fiscal three months. The United States accounted for 1,456 of these locations.