Home Depot, Staples, See Double-Digit Q2 Gains

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The Home Depot Inc. Aug. 15 reported sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2006 were $26 billion, a 16.7 percent increase from last year.

Same-store sales dropped 0.2 percent.

Home Depot's second quarter net earnings totaled $1.86 billion, or 90 cents per diluted share, up 9.8 percent compared to last year.

The Atlanta-based hardware and furnishings giant's retail segment saw a 5.1 percent increase in sales to $22.6 billion. Sales in the supply segment, however, jumped 325 percent to $3.5 billion, driven by recent acquisitions such as Hughes Supply, as well as double-digit organic growth. Retail Services grew by 9.7 percent to $1.03 billion.

Home Depot  increased its average ticket by 4.2 percent in the second quarter to $59.98.

The company also increased its market share in several key categories, including appliances, where it has a 10.1 percent market share; lawn power equipment, where it has a 24.4 percent market share; and grills, where it has a 17.5 percent market share.

In addition, Home Depot recently introduced three new exclusive lines: Thomasville brand hardwood flooring, American Standard faucets featuring the Speed Connect drain system and EverClean glaze finish and the RIDGID Xli 24-volt lithium-ion system with a hammer drill kit and combo kit.

Also reporting second quarter results was office supply retailer Staples Inc., which said company sales rose 12 percent to $3.88 billion for the quarter ended July 29. Comparable-store sales increased 4 percent.

Staples'  net income increased 19 percent during the same period for a total of $161 million. Earnings per share, on a diluted basis, increased 22 percent to 22 cents.

North American retail sales grew by 10 percent and North American delivery sales increased 17 percent versus last year. International sales rose 5 percent in local currency and 8 percent in U.S. dollars.

To support the rapid growth in North American Delivery, Staples, Framingham, MA, opened two new multichannel fulfillment centers in Atlanta and Orlando, FL.

Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. Aug. 15 reported revenue for the second quarter ended July 1 was $225.7 million, a drop from $243.8 million last year.

Net loss for the second quarter was $42 million, or a loss of $1.40 per diluted share, compared to net income of $69.5 million last year.

Comparable store sales dropped 5.9 percent, the Redmond, WA-based apparel retailer said.

The company's net merchandise sales for the second quarter included $153.8 million in retail sales and $57.8 million in direct sales. This compares to $169.8 million in retail sales during the same period last year and $59.6 million in direct sales.

For the six months ended July 1, revenues totaled $420.2 million compared to $465.7 million last year. Same-store sales declined 7.7 percent. Retail sales totaled $279.7 million and direct sales $112.5 million, compared to $313.5 million and $122.4 million, respectively, last year.

Eddie Bauer's  net loss for the first half of 2006 was $77.6 million, or a loss of $2.59 per diluted share, compared to a net income of $60.9 million last year.

The story from Abercrombie & Fitch Co. yesterday was slightly different.

The New Albany, OH-based apparel merchant said company net sales increased 15 percent during the second quarter ended July 29 to $658.7 million.

Same-store sales were flat, however.

Abercrombie & Fitch's  net income increased 14 percent for a total of $65.7 million. Net income per share on a fully diluted basis increased 14 percent to 72 cents.

In other news, The Talbots Inc. announced that it is closing its call center in Hingham, MA.

The apparel retailer said the move is part of the organizational restructuring process resulting from its acquisition of The J. Jill Group Inc.

Another reason is that increasing numbers of customers are choosing to shop directly from the company's Web site at www.talbots.com.

A total of 150 positions in Hingham in the areas of Talbots catalog sales and service, including 59 part-time and 91 full-time positions, will be eliminated. All positions in the call center's corporate customer service and direct marketing information systems areas will remain at Talbot's Hingham headquarters.

Talbots has a second call center operation in Knoxville, TN, that it opened in 1988. Those operations moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in February 2004. It currently employs approximately 300 Talbots associates.

J. Jill opened a combined state-of-the-art call center and distribution center in Tilton, NH, in 1998, that employs approximately 120 associates within the call center.

These two call centers will handle all customer calls for the Talbots and J. Jill  brands.

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