Appliance retailer The Home Depot reported record first quarter net earnings of U.S. $1.1 billion, or $0.49 per diluted share, up 26 percent, for the first quarter of fiscal 2004, compared with $907 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, for first quarter fiscal 2003. Excluding the impact of the adoption of EITF 02-16, diluted earnings per share would have been $0.52, or 33 percent higher than last year.
The retailer reported sales for the period increased $2.4 billion, 16 percent totaling $17.6 billion. Comparable store sales rose 7.7 percent, the highest first quarter comparable store sales growth in 5 years.
"Our performance in the first quarter is the best illustration yet of how we executed our strategy to drive growth," said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO. "We continue to build on the momentum created in 2003 by staying focused on our strategy to enhance our stores, extend our business, and expand our markets."
Based on its first quarter performance, the company announced that it has raised fiscal 2004 sales growth guidance to 10 to 12 percent. The company also raised its fiscal 2004 EPS growth guidance from 7 to 11 percent to 10 to 14 percent. Excluding the impact of EITF 02-16, the company expects EPS growth of 13-16 percent for fiscal 2004.
"Our appliance business delivered strong double digit comparable store sales performance in the quarter, with increases in both units and average ticket," said John Costello, executive vice president, merchandising and marketing. According to an independent third-party research company, The Home Depot has grown appliance market share, year-over-year, faster than any other retailer.
During the quarter, the company opened 33 new stores across Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., bringing the total store count to 1,740.
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