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Home Depot Earnings Up 30 Percent

May 19, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot on Tuesday reported first-quarter profits rose 30 percent from a year ago as sales surged 26 percent. Its stock surged.

The home improvement retailer earned $337 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, up from $259 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago.

The results were 3 cents per share better than expected by analysts surveyed by First Call Corp. Home Depot shares rose $2.875 per share, or 4.1 percent, to close at $73 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sales rose to $7.12 billion from $5.65 billion a year earlier.

``The outstanding results for the first quarter reflect our commitments to serving our customers, widening the gap between The Home Depot and its competition, and managing expenses as we continue to grow,″ said Arthur M. Blank, president and chief executive.

During the first quarter, Home Depot opened 32 new stores, giving it a total 656 stores in the United States and Canada.

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