Home Depot misses comparable-sales forecasts as spring selling dips

By Aishwarya Venugopal

By Aishwarya Venugopal

 

(Reuters) - Home Depot Inc <HD.N> on Tuesday missed Wall Street forecasts for sales at established stores, as an unusually long winter hit sales of typical spring products like lawn-mowers and patio furniture.

 

The downbeat results — which pushed Home Depot shares down 3 percent in premarket trade — are uncommon for the top U.S. home improvement chain, which has largely bucked the trend of retailers losing shoppers to Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> and other online players.

 

Spurred by low mortgage rates and a tight job market, consumers have generally been spending more on buying homes or renovating them.

 

Sales at Home Depot stores open for more than a year rose 4.2 percent in the three months ended April 29, missing Wall Street expectations for the first time in seven quarters, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Analysts on average had expected a 5.4 percent rise.

U.S. comparable-store sales also fell short of expectations, and customer traffic dipped 1.3 percent, which the Atlanta-based retailer attributed to cooler than usual weather in February, March and April in some parts of the United States.

U.S. homebuilding data from March suggested that construction activity may be slowing, as single-family homebuilding — which accounts for the biggest share of the housing market — fell 3.7 percent.

Home Depot's total net sales rose 4.4 percent to $24.95 billion, but fell short of expectations of $25.16 billion.

Still, the company maintained its forecast for 2018 sales and earnings.

"Outside of our seasonal business, we had solid results in all markets and categories and are seeing strong momentum in all lines of business during these first few weeks of May," Home Depot Chief Executive Officer Craig Menear said in a statement.

Net earnings rose 19.4 percent to $2.40 billion or $2.08 per share in the first quarter, edging past expectations of $2.05 per share.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

 
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