Home Depot, Lowe’s Both Post 4th-Qtr. Profits
By Steve Smith On Mar 10 2010 - 2:25pm
NEW YORK — Home-improvement
giants The Home Depot and Lowe’s both
reported fi scal Q4 profi ts recently, with
sales being relatively flat compared with
the prior year’s fi nal quarter.
The Home Depot, based in Atlanta, reported
a profit but lower sales in its fiscal
fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31.
Sales in its fiscal fourth quarter were
$14.6 billion, a 0.3 percent decrease from
the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.
Total company comp-store sales for the
fourth quarter grew 1.2 percent. Comp-store
sales for U.S. stores were down 1.1 percent.
Net earnings for the quarter were $342
million, compared with a net loss of $54
million in the prior year’s fourth quarter.
Sales for fiscal 2009 were $66.2 billion, a
decline of 7.2 percent from fi scal 2008. Total
company comp-store sales for the year declined
6.6 percent, and comps for U.S. stores
were negative 6.2 percent for the year.
For fiscal 2009, consolidated net earnings
increased 17.2 percent to $2.7 billion,
compared with consolidated net earnings
of $2.3 billion in fi scal 2008.
“Despite the tough economic environment,
we were able to make solid progress
against our key initiatives in 2009,” said
Frank Blake, chairman/ CEO, in a prepared
statement. “We continued to restructure
our distribution network, with our
Rapid Deployment Centers now serving
more than 65 percent of our U.S. store base.
And we enhanced overall customer service
as measured by third-party surveys.”
Lowe’s based in Mooresville, N.C., reported
net earnings of $205 million for
the quarter, ended Jan. 29, a 26.5 percent
increase from the same period a year ago.
For the fiscal year, ended on the same
day, net earnings declined 18.8 percent to
Sales for the quarter increased 1.8 percent
to $10.2 billion, up from $10 billion
in the fourth quarter of 2008. For
the fi scal year, sales declined 2.1 percent
to $47.2 billion. Comp-store sales for the
fourth quarter declined 1.6 percent and
declined 6.7 percent for fiscal 2009.
In commenting on the quarter in a prepared
statement, Robert Niblock, Lowe’s
chairman/CEO, said, “Our fourth-quarter
results, including sales and earnings that
exceeded our guidance, suggest the worst
of the economic cycle is likely behind us.”
He added, “While the psychological
impact of falling home prices and an
uncertain employment picture continue
to weigh on consumers, improving comparable
store sales trends, including improvement
in many bigger-ticket, project
categories, provides an encouraging sign
that consumers are gaining the confi dence
to take on more discretionary projects.”
During the quarter, Lowe’s opened 11
stores and now operates 1,710 stores in the
United States and Canada, representing
193.2 million square feet of retail selling
space, a 3.5 percent increase over last year.