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Home Depot tops Street, raises 2013 outlook

BY Marianne Wilson

ATLANTA —A rebound in seasonal categories helped The Home Depot post double-digit same-store sales in the second quarter as it exceeded its own expectations.

Net sales at the world’s largest home improvement retailer increased 9.5% to $22.5 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 4, compared with $20.6 billion in the same quarter last year. Comp-store sales increased 10.7% across the company, and increased 11.4% among domestic stores.

Net earnings for the quarter were $1.80 billion, up 17.2% from $1.53 billion in last year’s 14-week second quarter.

"The second-quarter results exceeded our expectations as our business benefited from a rebound in our seasonal categories, continued strength in the core of the store and the recovering housing market in the U.S.," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO.

The number of customer transactions increased 4.9%. The average ticket for the quarter increased 4.3% to $57.39.

With the strong performance came increased expectations for the 2013 full-year performance. Home Depot raised its guidance for sales to increase 4.5%, and comp-store sales to increase about 6.0% for the year.

Home Depot operates 2,258 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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Barnes & Noble loss widens; Riggio pulls offer to buy retail business

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK —Barnes & Noble reported a worse-than-expected net loss of $87 million for the first quarter, compared to a loss of $39.8 million in the year-ago period. The bookseller’s troubles mounted with the news that its founder, chairman and largest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, was calling off his offer to buy the company’s retail business.

"While I reserve the right to pursue an offer in the future, I believe it is in the company’s best interests to focus on the business at hand," Riggio said in an SEC filing. "Right now our priority should be to serve the more than 10 million customers who own NOOK devices, to concentrate on building our retail business, and to accelerate the sale of NOOK products in our stores, and in the marketplace."

Revenue for the quarter ended Aug. 2 fell nearly 9% to $1.33 billion from $1.45 billion last year. Analysts expected $1.32 billion.

By division, revenue decreased 10% to $1 billion at retail stores and rose 5% to $226 million at college bookstores. Nook revenue plunged 39% percent to $143 million.

Same-store sales were down 9.1%. Excluding the Nook, the metric was down 7.2%.

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Best Buy profit tops Street, helped by cost cutting

BY Marianne Wilson

MINNEAPOLIS —Best Buy said it earned $266 million in the second quarter, compared with a profit of $12 million in the year-ago period, amid cost cuts. Its results beat Wall Street expectations.

Revenue for the quarter, ended Aug. 3, edged down to $9.3 billion, from $9.34 billion last year. Analysts expected $9.13 billion. Same-store sales fell 0.6%, including a 0.4% decline domestically. Online sales rose 10.5%.

Industry analysts said the chain’s improved performance offered evidence that CEO Herbert Joly’s turnaround plans were starting to bear fruit. Under Joly, the company has put strict cost controls in place, streamlined management, reduced jobs, closed some locations, and announced plans to shed non-core assets, including its stake in a European joint venture with Carphone Warehouse.

At the same time, Best Buy has entered into agreements with Samsung Electronics and Microsoft to open in-store boutiques in its stores, updated its website and focused more shelf space to “hot” tech products.

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