Home Depot Inc (HD.N) beat quarterly profit and sales estimates and raised its fiscal-year outlook as shoppers took up long-delayed maintenance and repair projects for their homes in a slowly recovering U.S. economy.
The news boosted shares of the world's largest home improvement retailer by 2.2 percent on Tuesday. Smaller rival Lowe's Cos Inc (LOW.N) is due to report results on Wednesday.
Sales at Home Depot stores open at least a year rose 3.9 percent globally, with U.S. comparable-store sales rising 4.8 percent.
The top line was strong. That is one of the better comp store sales growth we have seen from them in quite some time, Bernstein analyst Colin McGranahan said.
It is way too early to say that the U.S. consumer is back, McGranahan said, adding, We will see what Lowe's has to report tomorrow. We only have half the picture so far.
U.S. consumers have been selectively spending on repairs and small remodeling projects. In recent months, Home Depot has shifted focus to cheaper products like faucets, paints and simple flooring projects to increase the number of people visiting its stores.
Home Depot's net income rose to $587 million, or 36 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended on January 30 from $342 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 31 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 3.8 percent to $15.13 billion, beating expectations of $14.81 billion.
The company, which also boosted its quarterly dividend, said it sees fiscal 2011 profit of $2.20 a share, excluding future share repurchases, up from its prior forecast of $2.01.
The company, which recently announced plans to hire more than 60,000 seasonal associates this spring, sees sales up about 2.5 percent for the year. It had earlier forecast a 2 percent to 2.5 percent rise.