Bad weather can’t hold back Home Depot Q1

The Home Depot shrugged off bad weather, and thanks, in part, to a recovering housing market, the company reported first quarter sales of $19.1 billion, up 7.4% from last year's quarter, which had one less week. 

On a like-for-like basis, comparable store sales for the first quarter were positive 4.3%. U.S. stores comps were positive 4.8%, also on a like-for-like basis.

Cold weather across much of the country hurt spring sales for the home improvement industry. But the world's largest home improvement retailer still grew profits and sales, despite feeling the chill. Net earnings for the quarter were $1.2 billion, up from $1.0 billion in the first quarter last year. 

"In the first quarter, we saw less favorable weather compared to last year, but we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. 

The company also raised its fiscal 2013 sales guidance. It now expects sales to be up about 2.8% for the year, with comp-store sales up about 4.0% for the year.

In other news, the Home Depot Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, has created a $1 million weather impact fund to aid relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in response to the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest United States, and in expectation of continuing violent storms throughout the spring season.

The foundation is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross for immediate relief needs in response to recent tornadoes and storms that caused serious damage, and has also committed $100,000 to Team Rubicon, whose primary mission is engaging veterans in disaster relief and recovery efforts, where their skills and experience greatly benefit communities. Additionally, the foundation continues to support nonprofits and first responders to assist with emergency needs of local communities. 

"The violent storms that have recently stricken Moore and other areas throughout the Southwest make it incumbent upon us to respond quickly to help our communities recover and rebuild, both now and during the many months to come," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of the Home Depot. "It is our sincere hope that the worst of this ferocious weather is behind us, but we stand ready to continue assisting through this funding, volunteerism and partnership with our communities."

In addition to funding, Team Depot, the company's associate-led volunteer force, has been mobilizing locally to help with relief and recovery efforts. The Home Depot is also a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program. The company's annual $500,000 contribution to the ADGP enables the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster anywhere in the United States. Separately, The Homer Fund, a charity for Home Depot associates in need of emergency financial assistance, has begun helping associates and their families affected by these storms.

The Home Depot in Moore, Okla., has opened its doors to displaced animals found in the wreckage, and is serving as a shelter. Home Depot also has at least one veterinarian on site treating injured animals.