Home Depot reports that first-quarter earnings climb 12.5%

Home Depot blames a harsh winter for falling short of analysts' first-quarter expectations

Home Depot said Tuesday that its first-quarter earnings climbed by more than 12%, but the home-improvement chain still missed expectations, blaming a brutal winter season that ate into spring sales.

For the three months ended May 4, the company reported net income of $1.4 billion, or $1 a share, up from $1.2 billion, or 83 cents a share, from the same period a year earlier.

Sales rose 2.9% to $19.7 billion. Wall Street analysts had forecast sales of $20 billion.

The Atlanta-based chain said the harsh winter cut into its spring sales as homeowners and construction companies waited to do repairs.

But Home Depot said sales had been picking up in May. The company said it typically gets a boost around this time as homeowners replant their gardens and prepare for outdoor weather.

"The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season," Frank Blake, Home Depot's chief executive, said in a statement.

Blake said he expected the 2014 fiscal year to be on target with a previous forecast of 4.8% growth. Home Depot also raised its earnings-per-share guidance for the full year up 17.6% to $4.42.

Shares of Home Depot rose $1.35, or 1.8%, to $77.85 in midday trading on Wall Street.



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