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HD posts Q3 sales and earnings declines


There are signs of stabilization out there in the home improvement industry, but they didn't prevent Home Depot from posting sales and earnings declines in the third quarter.

The world's largest home improvement retailer posted net earnings of $756 million, down 8.9% from earnings of $756 million in the same quarter last year. Sales for the company in the quarter ended Nov. 1 were $16.361 billion, a decrease of 8% from the prior-year quarter.

"There is still a great deal of pressure in the housing and home improvement markets, though there are some positive signs of stabilization," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. "Our business continues to perform well in a difficult environment. We grew market share in the quarter, continued to transform our business and improved customer service."

Based on its year-to-date performance, the company continues to expect sales to be down about 9% for the year.

On a comparable-store basis, the company's sales were negative 6.9% -- negative 7.1% for U.S. stores.

Home Depot's report followed by one day the third-quarter report from Lowe's Cos., which posted a comp-store sales decline of 7.5%.

Among other highlights from Home Depot's quarterly report released this morning:

• The number of customer transactions: 314 million, down 0.3%; • Average ticket: $51.89, down 7.1% • Capital expenditures: $215 million, down 52.3%; and • Weighted average weekly sales per operating store: $555,000.

The company finished the quarter with 2,242 stores, including 1,975 in the United States.

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