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Home Depot Q4 profit slips but tops estimates; raises quarterly dividend


Atlanta – Home Depot Inc.'s net income in the fourth-quarter edged down 0.8%, hurt by snow and severe cold and one less week in the period than a year ago. But cost costs helped its earnings to top estimates and the chain raised its quarterly dividend by 21%.

The very cold weather should boost sales this spring, the chain’s most important sales period of the year, as people repair homes damaged this winter, Home Depot said.

Home Depot earned $1.01 billion for the three months ended Feb. 2, compared with $1.02 billion a year earlier.

Revenue decreased 3% to $17.7 million from $18.25 billion, hurt by one less week in the latest quarter and winter storms. Same-store sales for the fourth quarter rose 4.4%.

Full-year net income rose to $5.39 billion from $4.54 billion in the year-ago period. Annual revenue was up 5% to $78.81 billion, from $74.75 billion.

For fiscal year 2014, Home Depot plans to open seven new stores. The retailer also expects net sales growth of 4.8% and same-store sales growth of 4.6%.

"In 2013, we posted our strongest same-store sales growth in 14 years as solid execution and the recovering housing market aided our performance," said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO.

On a conference call, Blake said the chain expects the housing recovery to continue and that “home prices will increase even though at a lower rate and expect that affordability will support the home improvement market.”

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