Home Depot Building Profits on Housing Recovery

ATLANTA (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS) -
Vicente Aguiar loads garage door trims into his pickup truck outside a Home Depot in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Vicente Aguiar loads garage door trims into his pickup truck outside a Home Depot in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Continued recovery in housing demand helped Home Depot’s earnings beat Wall Street’s expectations Tuesday, despite weather challenges in some parts of the country that affected some sales.

The Atlanta-based home-improvement giant reported same-store sales jumped 4.2 percent in the second quarter and net earnings grew 9 percent to $2.2 billion or $1.73 a share.

Sales were up almost across the board — in the company’s pro-business, appliances, tools, decor and online, Home Depot said. Only outdoor gardening lagged.

“Our garden business was very positive in the first quarter, slightly down in the second quarter, but for the (combined) half it was positive,” said Carol Tome, Home Depot’s chief financial officer. The company said it made adjustments in drought stricken areas like California and the Northwest by stocking more drought-friendly plants and promoting mulch to preserve water.

The company raised its fiscal 2015 guidance, expecting sales to climb about 5.2 percent to 6 percent.

Tome said the company’s $1.6 billion purchase last month of Interline — a company with supply expertise in hospitals, apartments and hotels — will further Home Depot’s growth by helping the company get a foothold in the booming apartment construction industry. Interline gives Home Depot access to operators looking to purchase blinds, floor coverings and cleaning supplies for big apartment projects.