Home Depot profit tops estimates; outlook raised

ATLANTA, Tue Aug 14, 2012 – Home Depot Inc. raised its fiscal-year earnings outlook on Tuesday as tight cost controls helped the world’s largest home improvement chain to offset sales weakness and beat Wall Street’s profit estimates in the latest quarter.

The company’s second quarter, which ended on July 29, is typically the most important selling period for home improvement chains, but unseasonably warm weather early in the year pulled some demand into the first quarter.

Net earnings rose to $1.53 billion, or $1.01 a share, in the quarter from $1.36 billion, or 86 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 97 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 1.7 percent to $20.57 billion, but missed the analysts’ average estimate of $20.74 billion. Operating expenses fell 2.7 percent to $4.46 billion.

Shares of Home Depot rose 1.3 percent to $53.50 in trading before the market opened.

Home Depot has benefited from its recent efforts to improve distribution and customer service. It has been quicker to cut costs than rival Lowe’s Cos. Inc., and in some cases has gotten a boost as housing markets have rebounded in regions where it has a heavy presence.