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Home Depot Sales Jump 11%

ATLANTA — Strong fiscal second-quarter sales growth across the store and average ticket increase for the three months helped The Home Depot register an 11 percent increase in sales and 18.9 percent rise in net earnings for the period.

Sales hit $20 billion in the second quarter, ended August 1, up from a year-on-year $18 billion, with strength across all geographic regions, said the retailer. Comp-store sales for the three months increased 4.8 percent.

The home improvement retailer registered net earnings of $1.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with $1.3 billion in the same quarter in 2003. The retailer recorded an operating margin of 12.3 percent for the three months.

Average sales ticket increased 8.2 percent in the second quarter, hitting $54.73, up from a year-ago $50.60. Home Depot said it experienced average ticket growth in every selling category. The average number of customer transactions rose 2.6 percent in the quarter.

For the six months, sales jumped 13.3 percent, coming in at $37.5 billion, up from a year-ago $33.1 billion. Net earnings for the six months climbed 19.8 percent, reaching $2.6 billion, compared with $2.2 billion in the first half of the previous fiscal year.

Average sales ticket in the six months increased 7.8 percent to $54.91 from a previous-year number of $50.92. Number of customer transactions for the first fiscal half moved up 4.5 percent.

Home Depot, which announced plans to enter the retail market in China, opened 48 new stores in the second quarter, bringing its total to 1,788 stores.