The Home Depot sales up 3.5% in 'record year', 6 new stores planned for 2020

The Home Depot, the US' largest DIY and home improvement retailer, has posted a 5.2% increase in comparable sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 to $25.8 billion, in what its President has called a 'record year'.

Sales of $26.5 billion were recorded in the same period in 2018, due to an extra week of trading adding approximately $1.7 billion in sales. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 were $2.5 billion ($2.28 per diluted share).

Overall in 2019 the retailer showed steady growth, revealing sales for the year were up 3.5%, while sales in the US alone increased by 3.8%. Net earnings for fiscal 2019 were $11.2 billion ($10.25) per diluted share.

Craig Menear, Chairman, CEO and President of Home Depot, said of the company's performance: "Fiscal 2019 was a record year for our business and one marked by significant progress as we invest to transform ourselves into The Home Depot of the future. We had a strong finish to the year as our fourth quarter results reflect strength in our core business, solid execution around our holiday events and the overall health of the consumer.

"We are now two years into our multi-year investment program and have more conviction than ever that our strategic initiatives are creating a value proposition that is unique to the marketplace and will extend our leadership position for year to come."

Menear revealed that through the second year of the retailer's One Home Depot investment program, the company had grown sales by over $9 billion.

"I am proud of the way our associated continue to focus on our customers, and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in the fourth quarter and throughout the year," he continued.

The company also announced its board of directors had approved a 10% increase in its quarterly dividend to $1.50 per share, equating to an annual dividend of $6 per share.

Richard McPhail, CFO and Executive Vice President, added: "As a testament to our commitment to create value for our shareholders and  demonstration of confidence in the business going forward, the board has increased the dividend for the 11th consecutive year."

Looking to 2020, the company predicted total sales growth of between 3.5%-4% alongside an operating margin of approximately 14%. The retailer also announced it will implement six new stores throughout the year, which would take its total number of retail stores to 2,297.

The Home Depot operates stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico, and employs more than 400,000 associates.