Feb. 25 - Home improvement retailer Home Depot and the department store chain Macy's managed to boost quarterly comparable store sales despite bad weather. Fred Katayama reports.
Home Depot managed to pull in customers as the housing recovery helped the home improvement retailer offset the wicked winter weather. Comparable store sales rose in the latest quarter. Revenue and earnings would've risen if not for the extra week in last year's quarter. Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel said, "We believe that unfavorable weather through much of the U.S. over the past several weeks likely disrupted sales trends at Home Depot. That Home Depot can 'stay on course' despite significant transitory factors is a testament to the prowess of the chain and its senior management team." Analysts say the strong outlook for remodeling should benefit Home Depot, which, raised its earnings estimate slightly for the current year and hiked its dividend. Home Depot stock, which is down more than 4 percent this year, rising in early trade. The cold wet weather hurt Macy's sales in January extending into February, shutting down more than 240 of its stores. But the department store chain, a standout among its peers during the holiday season, managed to grow quarterly comparable sales and boost income. CEO Terry Lundgren was optimistic that shoppers would come back when spring arrives. Investors were cautious, selling Macy's shares at the start of trade.