Reports indicate that an extra week of sales in the current quarter and purchases made in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy helped the world’s largest retailer rake in sales of $18.25 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 -- a 13.9 percent increase from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $1 billion, or 68 cents per diluted share, up from earnings of $774 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Analysts had expected the company to report a profit of 64 cents per share on $17.7 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
According to Home Depot, the 14th week of sales added about $1.2 billion to its top line, and it boosted earnings by about 7 cents a share.
The Atlanta-based company also announced it would buy back as much as $17 billion of its own shares, and raise its dividend 35 percent to 39 cents from 29 cents a share. Earnings after the planned share repurchases will be up 12 percent to $3.37 a share in fiscal year 2013, the company said.
Home Depot projected fiscal 2013 sales growth to be approximately two percent, but be up 3 percent on a same-store sales basis.
Just one day earlier, competitor Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) posted earnings that also topped analysts’ expectations as a result of the improvements in the U.S. housing market and purchases made in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. For fiscal 2013, Lowe's said it expects to earn $2.05 a share; however, analysts estimate it will earn $2.10 a share.