Originally created 02/22/06

Chain's profits beat the Street



ATLANTA - The Home Depot Inc., the nation's largest home improvement store chain, reported a more than 23 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit on a solid increase in sales.

The results beat Wall Street expectations.

The Atlanta-based company said it earned $1.29 billion, or 60 cents a share, for the three months ending Jan. 29, compared with a profit of $1.04 billion, or 47 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 56 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Revenue in the quarter rose nearly 16 percent to $19.49 billion, compared with $16.81 billion in the same period a year ago.

Same-store sales - a measure that compares sales at stores open at least a year - rose 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

For all of fiscal 2005, Home Depot said it earned $5.84 billion, or $2.72 a share, compared with a profit of $5 billion, or $2.26 a share, for fiscal 2004. Twelve-month revenue rose 11.5 percent to $81.51 billion, compared with $73.09 billion recorded for all of fiscal 2004.

Home Depot ended its fiscal year with 2,042 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It has announced plans to expand to China, but has not said how many stores it will open there or when it will open its first store.