Home Depot’s 2Q Profits Up 9.9 Percent

Atlanta-based Home Depot last week said that sales of such items as John Deere tractors and pressure washers helped the company turn around losses at its older stores as it posted profits of 9.9 percent in the second quarter.

The company credited brightening its stores, adding workers on the floor and better products for producing growth in the face of strong competition from Lowe’s Co.

Home Depot had record earnings of $1.3 billion, or 56 cents a share, up from $1.2 billion, or 50 cents a share in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earning of 54 cents a share for the second quarter, which covers the three-month period ending Aug. 3.

Sales at Home Depot stores that have been open for at least a year increased 2.2 percent, reversing three straight quarters of declines.

“The transformation we embarked upon last year is working,” said chief financial officer Carol Tome. “It was very disruptive to our business last year. We’ve learned a lot.” The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2003 guidance for sales growth between 9 and 12 percent and earnings per diluted share growth between 9 and 14 percent.

Over the second quarter, The Home Depot opened 39 new stores. It now operates a total of 1,607 stores, including 1,428 Home Depot stores in the United States, 96 in Canada and 15 in Mexico.

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