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Home Depot's Q2 Profits Fall 7.2 Percent

8/18/2009 11:04:33 AM Eastern

Atlanta - Second-quarter net profits at The
Home Depot declined 7.2 percent to $1.1 billion, and net sales sank 9 percent
to $19 billion, reflecting consumers' continuing economic concerns, the
retailer reported this morning.

Same-store sales for the No. 1 home-improvement chain fell 8.5 percent in
total and 6.9 percent in the United
States for the three months, ended Aug. 2.

"Concerns about the housing market, rising unemployment and softness in
the overall economy continue to pressure consumers," said chairman/CEO Frank
Blake. Nevertheless, he said the company "performed well" in a down market
thanks to greater operating productivity and market share gains.

Analysts agreed. According to Credit Suisse's Gary Balter, Home Depot's
results exceeded expectations given the challenging environment, and its
same-store sales surpassed those of chief rival Lowe's for the first time in
recent memory.

"Under
Frank Blake and his very strong team, this story is also about reinvesting in
the basics of retailing, customer service, systems, distribution and
merchandising, providing an additional lift that Lowe's would not enjoy,"
Balter observed in a research note.

Yesterday, Lowe's
reported
a 19 percent drop in second-quarter profits and a 9.5 percent
decline in same-store sales.

Home Depot's second-quarter results included a net impact to operating
profit of $20 million from the previously announced closing of the company's 34
Expo Design Centers and related specialty stores, and a tax benefit of
approximately $50 million arising from a favorable foreign tax settlement.

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