The Home Depot
The world's largest home improvement retailer's Q1 results pleasantly surprised Wall Street's analysts. Reuters

The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD), the world’s largest home improvement retailer, reported net profit in its Q1 ended May 5 of $1.22 billion, or 83 cents per share, as the ongoing recovery of the U.S. housing market sent more Americans to the big orange box for home improvement supplies.

The earnings are up 18.5 percent compared to the company’s Q1 of 2012, when it reported net profit of $1.04 billion, or 68 cents per share. The Atlanta, Ga., retailer also raised its full-year earnings per share estimate to $3.52, up from $3.37 last year.

First-quarter sales came in at $19.1 billion, up 7.4 percent from last year. Analysts polled by Thompson Reuters had expected Q1 sales of $18.69 billion and earnings of 77 cents per share.

Company Chairman and CEO Frank Blake said the “stronger-then-expected” start of the year came despite an unseasonably cool spring that hit sales of other retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), which also offers home and garden merchandise.

Home Depot’s primary competitor, Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW), of Mooresville, N.C., will report its earnings on Wednesday. The consensus estimate by Zacks expects earnings to rise to 51 cents per share from 43 cents in the same quarter last year on revenue of $13.45 billion.

The Home Depot’s surprise sent Lowe’s shares up 1.7 percent to $42.38 in premarket trading on Tuesday.