New York - Operational upgrades and the recovering economy sent fourth-quarter profits soaring for the two leading home improvement chains.
Home Depot's fourth-quarter earnings skyrocketed 72 percent to $587 million on sales of $15.1 billion, a 3.8 percent increase year-over-year. Comp-store sales rose 3.9 percent globally and 4.8 percent in the U.S. for the three months ended Jan. 30.
About a quarter of the domestic comp-store increase was attributable to major appliances, the company said.
Chairman/CEO Frank Blake said merchandising and distribution initiatives, improved customer service and the recovering economy helped drive the strong results.
Meanwhile, Lowe's reported a 39-percent spike in fourth-quarter earnings, to $285 million, while net sales rose 3.1 percent to $10.5 billion. Comp sales for the three months ended Jan. 28 edged up 1.1 percent in North America.
"While uncertainty in the market remains, the economic recovery is continuing," noted chairman/CEO Robert Niblock. "We are committed to delivering better customer experiences and expect to grow market share in 2011 as we make continued progress on our key initiatives."
During the quarter Lowe's opened 17 stores and closed two, giving it 1,749 stores in North America.