Home Depot 3Q Profit Tumbles 31%

Atlanta Following Tuesday’s news that The Home Depot had experienced third-quarter sales drops in excess of 6%, the home-improvement retailer announced that 3Q profits took a big tumble—down 31%, from year-ago profits of $1.09 billion to $756 million for the three months ended Nov. 2.

“This is a difficult environment," CEO Frank Blake said. "The view we had at the start of the quarter, that we might be nearing the bottom, gave way to the financial crisis in September and beyond."

Same-store sales fell 8.3% during the period.

Home Depot's results came a day after a surprising third-quarter report from competitor Lowe's Cos. Inc., which topped Wall Street analysts' profit estimates, even as earnings skidded more than 24% because shoppers were postponing big-ticket purchases.

Home Depot still expects earnings per share from continuing operations to decline 24% for the fiscal year. The guidance does not include a charge from closing 15 stores and removing 50 stores from its growth plans.

The company now expects a sharper drop in sales for the year. Home Depot said its sales could drop by as much as 8%. Previously, the company had said it expected a decline of 5% for the year.

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