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Home Depot Profits Up 30 Percent

August 18, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot reported Tuesday that second-quarter profits for the home improvement retail chain were $467 million, up 30 percent from $358 million in the same quarter last year.

Diluted earnings per share rose to 31 cents, up 29 percent from 24 cents in the second fiscal quarter of 1997.

Analysts surveyed by First Call Inc. had projected Home Depot earnings at 30 cents a share for the fiscal quarter ended Aug. 2, the company’s 50th consecutive quarter of record earnings.

Sales for this year’s second quarter totaled $8.14 billion, up from $6.55 billion in 1997′s second quarter.

For the first six months of the fiscal year, net earnings totaled $804 million or 53 cents diluted per share, up 30 percent from net earnings of $617 million or 41 cents per share for the first half of the 1997 fiscal year.

Comparable store sales rose 7 percent in the first half of 1998. Overall sales were at $15.26 billion, up 25 percent over $12.21 billion for the first half of fiscal 1997.

``The quality of the financial results for the second quarter reflects our dedication to constantly raising the bar for ourselves and our competition,″ said Arthur M. Blank, president and chief executive officer.

Home Depot also announced plans Tuesday for more expansion of its Expo Design Centers, saying its six home interior showrooms will grow to about 200 over the next six to seven years.

Two showrooms will open later this year in Boynton Beach, Fla., and Plano, Texas, followed by eight more in fiscal 1999.

Planned for next year are design centers in Houston; Smithtown, N.Y.; Fairfax, Va.; Marietta, Ga.; Monrovia, Calif.; and Huntington Beach, Calif. The other two locations will be announced later.

Founded in 1978, Home Depot operates 683 stores in the United States and Canada and will open its first retail stores in Chile and Puerto Rico later this year.

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