said its 2004 results will be in line with Wall Street's expectations. The home-improvement chain also gave financial targets for 2005 and announced plans for new store openings.
At a meeting with analysts Thursday, Home Depot said its sales for fiscal 2004, ending Jan. 31, will likely have increased 12.5% to $72.9 million. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open for at least a year, should be up 5% over 2003, making it the best annual performance since 1999.
On the bottom line, the company expects to post earnings of $2.26 a share, up 20% from the previous year and in line with expectations. Gross margins should be up by 160 to 180 basis points.
"We are clearly on track with the transformation of the company and our strategy of building multiple business platforms for solid, sustainable growth well into the future," the company said.
For 2005, the retailer expects sales will grow 9% to 12%, with same-store sales up 4% to 7%. It anticipates EPS growth between 10% and 14%. Also, the company plans to add 175 new stores and continue its investment in store modernization and technology through a capital spending plan of $3.7 billion.
Overseas, Home Depot expects to add 19 stores in Canada and 10 stores in Mexico, and is strategically positioned to enter China.
As for new products in 2005, the company plans to launch a larger assortment of storage and organization products; dozens of new Hampton Bay lighting and fan products; fashion rugs from brands such as Kathy Ireland; Ralph Lauren metallic paint; more countertop displays, high-end kitchen cabinet and appliance vignettes; and an expanded lighting showroom.
The company had completed $6.4 billion of its $7 billion share repurchase program as of Dec. 23, and has returned $8.8 billion in cash to its shareholders in dividends and share repurchases over the last three years.
Shares of Home Depot were recently down 65 cents, or 1.5%, to $41.55.