The Home Depot (THD) today reported third quarter 2013 net earnings of $1.4 billion, on $19.5 billion in sales, compared to year-ago earnings of $947 million on $18.1 billion in sales for the quarter.

Comparable store sales for the third quarter rose 7.4 percent over the third quarter of 2013, and comp sales for U.S. stores increased 8.2 percent over the year-ago period.

"Our third quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in the housing market and our solid operational performance," said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO.

Blake said the company saw strong growth in the quarter in both transactions and tickets. “We now have 10 consecutive quarters of transactions and ticket growth, which we view as an encouraging sign of the balance in the growth of our business,” he said during the third quarter earnings call.

THD’s pro business also grew at a slightly faster pace than its consumer business. “We’ve seen a steady year-over-year increase in the pro segment,” Blake said.

Pro sales provided double digit growth, he said, in the gypsum, concrete, pressure treated lumber, and moldings product categories. And mild weather boosted year-to-year comps for outdoor products such as exterior stains and water sealers, pressure washers, and exterior paints.

The company’s online sales also showed steady growth increasing more than 50% in the quarter to represent 3% of total sales.

Based on its year-to-date performance and outlook for the remainder of the year, THD raised its fiscal 2013 sales guidance and now expects sales to be up approximately 5.6 percent. Comparable store sales, on a 52-week like for like basis, are expected to be up approximately 7 percent for the year.

At the end of the third quarter, the Atlanta-based chain operated 2,260 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico and employed more than 300,000 associates.