Home Depot 4Q Sales Decline

Atlanta The Home Depot announced Tuesday that its fourth-quarter profit fell more than 27% and that a suffering housing market contributed to the first annual sales decline for the world's largest home-improvement store chain.

Home Depot said it earned $671 million in the three months ending Feb. 3, compared with a profit of $925 million in the same period a year earlier.

Despite an extra sales week, revenue in the quarter rose only 1.5% to $17.66 billion, compared with $17.4 billion a year earlier. Excluding that extra week, fourth-quarter sales declined 4.7% compared with a year ago.

Revenue for fiscal 2007 declined 2.1% to $77.35 billion. Spokesman Ron DeFeo said that was the first-ever annual sales decline for Home Depot.

Same-store sales declined 8.3% in the quarter. The company's average sales ticket declined 2.3% to $54.96 in the quarter, compared with $56.27 a year ago.

The company said it expects to see a total sales decline in fiscal 2008 of 4% to 5%.

Home Depot said it plans to open only 55 new stores this year. That's about half as many as it opened last year. Home Depot has been scaling back the number of new store openings in recent years.

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