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.

Best Buy results top estimates; outlook maintained

NEW YORK, Tue May 22, 2012 – Best Buy Co. Inc. reported better-than-expected quarterly results and maintained its outlook for the year as a turnaround plan started to take hold, sending shares in the world’s largest consumer electronics chain up more nearly 4 percent.

The stronger results eased concerns about the future of the retailer after Chief Executive Brian Dunn resigned abruptly last month amid a probe into allegations of personal misconduct.

Critics are also worried that Best Buy is serving as a showroom for Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers.

“Best Buy is in a turnaround, and the strategic priorities we laid out at the beginning of the year are just the first phase of the changes to come,” Interim CEO Mike Mikan said. “We know we have to better adapt to the new realities of the marketplace.”

Sales rose 2.1 percent to $11.61 billion, beating the analysts’ average estimate of $11.52 billion.

Net earnings fell to $161 million, or 47 cents a share, for the quarter ended May 5, from $255 million, or 64 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, it earned 72 cents a share, beating the average estimate of 59 cents.