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Home Depot challenged in Q1, sees sales and comps dip

Atlanta -The Home Depot's flat first-quarter sales didn't keep the company from posting double-digit profit growth.

Net earnings during the first quarter ended May 1 rose 12% to $812 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $725 million, or 43 cents per share, in the same period last year. Its first quarter earnings per share increased 16.3% over the prior year.

Sales slipped 0.2% to $16.823 billion. Total comps fell 0.6% and were down 0.7% at the chain's U.S. stores.

"We continued to improve our business and delivered double-digit earnings growth," said Frank Blake, chairman and ceo. "Our sales declined slightly due to a slow spring selling season, but for the year we expect sales to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided."

Home Depot confirmed that it expects sales to be up 2.5% from fiscal 2010. Based on its year-to-date performance, the company raised its fiscal 2011 earnings-per-share guidance to be up about 11.4% to $2.24 for the year. The earnings guidance includes the benefit of the company's year-to-date share repurchases, but excludes the impact of future share repurchases.


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