The Home Depot fiscal 2018 results show 7.2% sales increase on last year

US-based The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, today reported sales of $26.5 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, a 10.9% increase from Q4 of fiscal 2017.

Total sales for the entirety of fiscal 2018 were $108.2 billion, an increase of 7.2% from fiscal 2017. Total company comparable sales for fiscal 2018 increased 5.2%, and comparative sales in the US were positive 5.4% for the year.

Craig Menear, Chairman, CEO and President of The Home Depot, said: "We achieved record sales and net earnings in fiscal 2018, while making great progress on the strategic investments we laid out in December of 2017. We focused on enhancing the inter-connected retail experience for our customers, providing localised and innovative product, and delivering best in class productivity.

"Our view on the health of the economy and the consumer, as well as the momentum of our strategic investments, supports our belief that we can deliver comparable sales growth of 5% in fiscal 2019. I would like to thank our associates for their solid execution and exceptional work in service to our customers."

The Company further announced today that its board of directors declared a 32% increase in its quarterly dividend to $1.36 per share, also authorising a new $15 billion share repurchase program, replacing its previous authorisation.

Menear continued: "As a testament to our commitment to create value for our shareholders and a demonstration of confidence in the business going forward, the board has increased the dividend for the tenth consecutive year. The dividend is payable on March 28, 2019, to shareholders of record on the close of business on March 14, 2019. This is the consecutive quarter the company has paid a cash dividend."

For fiscal 2019, the company forecasts comparable sales growth of approximately 5% for the comparable 52-week period, with sales growth of approximately 3.3% and five net new stores. The company predicts a gross margin of approximately 34% and an operating margin of 11.4%, while its capital spending for the year is estimated at around $2.7 billion.

The Home Depot also reaffirmed its long-term fiscal 2020 targets, which project total sales ranging from $115 billion to $120 billion and an operating margin between 14.4%-15%. The retailer predicts a return on invested capital of more than 40%.

At the end of Q4, the company operated a total of 2,287 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico, employing more than 400,000 associates.