Atlanta, The Home Depot reported earnings fell 3% to $1.49 billion for the third quarter ended Oct. 29, from $1.54 billion a year earlier. It was Home Depot's first decline in quarterly profit since the fourth quarter of 2002. Comp-store sales fell 5.1%, while total sales rose 11.3% to $23.1 billion, falling short of analysts' average estimate of $23.3 billion.
The retailer said weakness would likely continue into 2007. "I don't think we've seen the bottom yet," Home Depot chairman Robert Nardelli said during a conference call. "I don't see anything that suggests it's going to get significantly better in '07."