The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)
The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)

Big-box home improvement retailer The Home Depot logged first quarter 2014 net earnings of $1.4 billion, a 17% improvement over first quarter 2013 net earnings of $1.2 billion. The Atlanta-based company said $61 million of the quarter’s earnings were the result of sale of its interest in HD Supply Holdings.

Sales for the quarter came to $19.7 billion, a 2.9% increase over the year-ago quarter. Comparable store sales rose 2.6% for the entire company, and 3.3% for U.S. stories.

"The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season,” said CEO Frank Blake. “But we had solid results in non-weather impacted markets and expect our sales for the year to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided. 

Fifteen out of the company’s 19 regions saw positive year-over-year comps in the first quarter. The Mid-Atlantic, New England, New York, and New Jersey regions saw negative comps due primarily to the harsh winter.
The flooring, indoor garden, paint product category comps were lower than expected but still positive, while outdoor garden and lumber comps were negative in the quarter.

CFO Carol Tome told investors that THD’s May sales are robust, and that the company expects fiscal 2014 sales to increase by about 4.8% over 2013 sales. 

Sales of spring product categories have started taking off, with the winter prompting strong demand for landscape, concrete, and roofing products as homeowners, particularly in the Northeast, begin repairing winter damage to their homes and yards.

The company’s “Pro Xtra” loyalty program for professional contractors continues to gain traction, with 1.5 million pro customers signing up for the program. The program provides targeted offers, e-receipts, and discounted business services.

THD’s online sales grew by $232 million in the quarter and now comprise 4.2% of total sales.