Acquisition planned this year
Home Depot, the world's largest DIY retailer, posted record results for its fourth quarter.

The success was based on its strong performance in core retail stores, its services business, Home Depot Direct and the continued expansion of the Home Depot Supply platform.

Sales for the fourth quarter were US$19.5 billion, a 15.9 per cent increase from the same period last year. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter increased 5.5 per cent. Net earnings increased from US$5.0 billion compared with US$5 billion the year before.

Sales for the financial year increased to US$81.5 billion, an 11.5 per cent increase compared with the same period last year. Comparable store sales grew 3.8 per cent.

Growth was boosted by a growing demand for do-it-for-me services offered by the retailer. Home Depot's services business grew 21.4 per cent during the financial year.

Last month, the company announced its intention to acquire Hughes Supply, a leading distributor of construction and repair products. Hughes Supply will more than double the size of Home Depot Supply, with projected 2006 combined sales approaching US$12 billion. The acquisition is anticipated to close in April.

Home Depot chairman, president and chief executive Bob Nardelli said: 'In 2006, we will capitalise on our strong momentum and continue to deliver sustainable, predictable and profitable growth.'