FINANCE

Home Depot raises guidance on strong Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta — The Home Depot reported net earnings of $1.4 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2013, up 48% from $948 million in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year. The retailer raised its 2013 forecast for the third time this year amid rising home prices.

"Our third quarter results reflect the continuing improvement in the housing market and our solid operational performance," said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO.

Other results in a strong quarter included sales of $19.5 billion, a 7% increase from $18.1 billion, and a same-store sales increase of 7.4% (8.2% for U.S. stores).

Home Depot partially attributed its improved net earnings to the elimination of a $165 million charge related to the closure of seven stores in China a year earlier, as well as a rebounding housing market. Net earnings beat Wall Street expectations. Based on these results, Home Depot raised its fiscal 2013 sales guidance and now expects sales to be up approximately 5.6% Same-store sales, on a 52-week like for like basis, are expected to be up approximately 7% for the year.

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FINANCE

Urban Outfitters Q3 profit up 18%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Philadelphia — Urban Outfitters’ third quarter profit increased 18%, helped by strong results at its Anthropologie and Free People divisions. The company’s quarterly earnings per share and sales both in above estimates.

Urban Outfitters’ net income totaled $70.2 million, up 18% from $59.5 million.

Net sales equaled about $774 million, a 12% increase from $692.9 million. Same-store segment net sales, which include the direct-to-consumer channel, increased 7%.

Same-store retail segment net sales increased 30% at Free People and 13% at Anthropologie and decreased 1% at Urban Outfitters. Wholesale segment net sales rose 21%. Revenue and earnings exceeded consensus estimates.

"Fueled by strong results at our Anthropologie and Free People brands, I am pleased to announce that the company delivered record third quarter sales and operating profits," said Richard A. Hayne, CEO. "Despite this solid performance we remain cautious about the fourth quarter given the likelihood of a highly promotional environment and this year’s challenging holiday calendar.”

During the quarter the company opened nine new outlets. In the fourth quarter the company plans to open 10 new stores, including two Anthropologie stores, four Free People stores and four Urban Outfitters stores. This will bring the count of new stores opened during fiscal 2014 to 36, including 15 Urban Outfitters stores, 13 Free People stores and eight Anthropologie stores.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Wal-Mart illegally punished strikers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — The National Labor Relations Board has reportedly determined that Wal-Mart acted illegally when it disciplined and fired employees who had been involved in strikes and other labor protest activities. According to the New York Times, the board investigated actions taken last year against about 100 Wal-Mart employees in stores across 12 states including California, Colorado, Texas and Massachusetts.

The board also reportedly determined it found evidence that a Wal-Mart spokesperson who said there would be consequences for employees who did not show up to work as scheduled on Black Friday last year had illegally intimidated workers.

The board authorized the filing of a complaint by Wal-Mart workers but first is giving time for the two sides to reach a settlement. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the Times that the company did not break any laws in how it treated employees last year and does not engage in employee intimidation or retaliation.

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