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Home Depot tumbles to Q4 loss, full year profit down 43%

Atlanta – The Home Depot today reported a net loss of $54 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter – a precipitous plunge from earnings of $671 million, or 40 cents EPS in the same period last year.

During the fourth quarter, Home Depot took a pre-tax “business rationalization charge” of $387 million, a pre-tax write-down of the company's investment in HD Supply of $163 million, and a loss from discontinued operations of $52 million, net of tax.

Sales of $14.6 billion in Q4 were down 17.3% from last year, while comps fell 13.0%.

The 2,274-store home center chain said it experienced Q4 unit share gains in nine of its 13 departments. Based on independent third-party tracking of its consumer activity, Home Depot saw strong unit share gains in several key merchandising classes, including carpet as well as hand tools, power tools, blinds, windows and doors.

For the full year, Home Depot reported earnings of $2.3 billion, or $1.34 EPS, a 43.5% drop. Sales of $71.3 billion were down 7.8% from 2007; comps fell 8.7%.

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