The largest home improvement retailer by revenue in the US, Home Depot Inc reported fourth-quarter profit that beat estimates of analysts as improved customer service and online operations helped it benefit from a surge in renovation spending, Bloomberg reported.
Profit excluding certain items came in at $1 a share in the three months through 1 February, according to the Atlanta-based company's statement yesterday. Analysts had estimated profit at 89 cents. The actual earnings came as the biggest on a percentage basis in three years.
The home-improvement retail giant had freed up more employees to work on the sales floor, which helped it to fully profit from the flood of shoppers seeking to improve their properties. The chain that had been led by chief executive officer Craig Menear since November, had also made investments in distribution centres and inventory systems to keep stores better stocked.
''The company is operating as well as can be expected, and execution is strong,'' David Strasser, an analyst Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in New York, said in a note.
Sales rose on purchases of lumber, tools and appliances, for which the company had been providing more space, he added.
Home Depot earned $1.05 a share, or $1.4 billion, in the fourth quarter, improving on the $1 billion and 73 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Sales came in at $19.2 billion, up 8.3 per cent. Sales at US stores open at least a year rose 8.9 per cent, USA Today reported in association with AP.
"We had a strong finish to the year, as strength across the store, the recovering US housing market and solid execution aided our business in 2014," Menear in a statement.
For the year, Home Depot's earning came in at $4.71 per share on revenue of $83.18 billion.
The company has projected 2015 earnings of between $5.11 and $5.17 per share. Revenue is expected to increase about 3.5 to 4.7 per cent.
Wall Street is expecting full-year earnings of $4.50 per share.
The company operates 2,269 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico at the end of the fourth quarter.
Shares which increased $4.50 to $116.78, are already up 14 per cent in the past three months in a year in which the company has repeatedly risen to new highs.