PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Home Depot(R), the world's largest home improvement retailer, today reported fiscal 2008 second quarter consolidated net earnings of $1.2 billion, or $0.71 per diluted share, compared with $1.6 billion, or $0.81 per diluted share, in the same period in fiscal 2007. Earnings per diluted share from continuing operations in the second quarter of fiscal 2008 were $0.71, compared to $0.77 per diluted share in the second quarter of fiscal 2007, a decrease of 7.8 percent.
Sales for the second quarter totaled $21.0 billion, a 5.4 percent decrease from the second quarter of fiscal 2007, reflecting negative comparable store sales of 7.9 percent, offset in part by sales from new stores.
The Company's fiscal 2007 contained 53 weeks of operations. This shifted the Company's 2008 fiscal calendar. Because of this shift, and given the seasonal nature of its business, second quarter sales, on a like for like calendar basis, were negatively impacted by approximately $160 million. Excluding the calendar shift, on a like for like basis, comparable store sales for the quarter were negative 7.2 percent.
"We continue to see pressure on our market and the consumer, generally," said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO. "Despite the macroeconomic conditions, we saw improved execution in our merchandising and operations initiatives during the past quarter. I am very proud of what our associates have accomplished in a difficult environment," said Blake.
Fiscal Year 2008 Financial Outlook
Given the continued softness in the housing and home improvement markets as well as the commitment to invest in its key retail priorities, the Company believes fiscal 2008 sales will decline by approximately five percent and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations will decline by approximately 24 percent. This is consistent with its previous guidance. The Company's 2008 earnings per share guidance does not include its store rationalization charge from the closing of 15 stores and removal of 50 stores from its future growth pipeline.
The Home Depot will conduct a conference call today at 9 a.m. ET to discuss information included in this news release and related matters. The conference call will be available in its entirety through a webcast and replay at homedepot.com in the Investor Relations section.
At the end of the second quarter, the Company operated a total of 2,257 retail stores, which included 1,965 The Home Depot stores in the United States (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the territory of Guam), 167 stores in Canada, 72 stores in Mexico, 12 stores in China, as well as 2 THD Design Centers, 5 Yardbirds stores and 34 EXPO Design Center locations. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (
Certain statements contained herein, including any statements related to the state of the home improvement market, the state of the construction and housing markets, our reinvestment plans and financial outlook, constitute "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these statements are based on currently available information and current expectations and projections about future events, such forward-looking statements may prove to be incorrect. Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: economic conditions in North America; changes in our cost structure; our ability to attract, train and retain highly qualified associates; conditions affecting customer transactions and average ticket, including, but not limited to, improving and streamlining operations, and customers' in-store experience. Undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements as they speak only as of the date hereof, and we undertake no obligation to update these statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances except as may be required by law. Additional information regarding these and other risks and uncertainties is contained in our periodic filings with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2008. HDE
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