ATLANTA, Feb. 21, 2012--The Home Depot®, the world's largest home improvement retailer, today reported sales of $16.0 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, a 5.9 percent increase from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 were positive 5.7 percent, and comp sales for U.S. stores were positive 6.1 percent.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $774 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $587 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2010. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, diluted earnings per share increased 38.9 percent from the prior year.

Fiscal 2011

Sales for fiscal 2011 were $70.4 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent from fiscal 2010. Total company comparable store sales for the year increased 3.4 percent, and comp sales for U.S. stores were positive 3.0 percent for the year.

Earnings per diluted share in fiscal 2011 were $2.47, compared to $2.01 per diluted share in fiscal 2010, an increase of 22.9 percent.

"We had a strong finish to 2011, and with favorable weather, our business delivered results that exceeded our expectations," said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO. "I'd like to thank our associates for their hard work and dedication."

Fiscal 2012 Guidance

The Company will have 53 weeks of operating results in fiscal 2012 and provided the following guidance for fiscal 2012:

Sales growth of approximately 4 percent including the 53rd week

53rd week projected to add approximately $1 billion to total sales

Low single-digit comparable store sales growth for the 52-week period

11 new stores

Moderate gross margin expansion

Operating margin expansion of approximately 50 basis points

Tax rate of approximately 37%

53rd week expected to contribute approximately 3 cents of diluted earnings per share

53-week diluted earnings-per-share growth before share repurchases of approximately 10 percent to $2.72

53-week diluted earnings-per-share growth after anticipated share repurchases of approximately 13 percent to $2.79

Capital spending of approximately $1.325 billion

Depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $1.65 billion

Cash flow from the business of approximately $6.6 billion

Share repurchases of approximately $3.5 billion

The Home Depot will conduct a conference call today at 9 a.m. ET to discuss information included in this news release and related matters. The conference call will be available in its entirety through a webcast and replay at

At the end of the fourth quarter, the Company operated a total of 2,252 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index.

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