Home Depot misses comparable-sales estimates as spring traffic dips

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(Reuters) – Home Depot Inc’s (HD.N) sales at established stores missed Wall Street forecasts for the first time in seven quarters, as cooler weather in some U.S. states led to a slower-than-expected start to the spring selling season.

FILE PHOTO: A Home Depot store is shown in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Shares of the No. 1 U.S. home improvement chain, which have risen about 22 percent in the past 12 months, fell 2.4 percent to $186.54 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

U.S. homebuilding data from March suggested that construction activity may be slowing, as single-family homebuilding — which accounts for the biggest share of the housing market — fell 3.7 percent.

Cooler-than-usual weather in some parts of the country also hit sales, leading to weak customer spending on spring-season products.

Home Depot said customer transactions dipped 1.3 percent in the first quarter ended April 29.

Sales at Home Depot stores open for more than a year climbed 4.2 percent, missing analysts’ average estimate of a 5.38 percent rise, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net earnings rose to $2.40 billion or $2.08 per share in the first quarter, from $2.01 billion or $1.67 per share a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.05 per share.

Net sales rose 4.4 percent to $24.95 billion, but fell short of expectations of $25.16 billion.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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