Retailer blames poor housing market

The world's biggest home improvement retailer Home Depot has issued its second profit warning in two months, blaming a downturn in the US housing market.Home Depot said that it expects profits for the year to slide by 15 per cent to 18 per cent, with total retail sales down 1 per cent to 2 per cent and comparable store sales down mid-single digits. In May, the retailer said that it had expected earnings per share to be down 9 per cent for the year.Home Depot chief financial officer and executive vice-president for corporate services Carol Tome said: 'While we expect the housing market to remain challenging for the rest of 2007 and into 2008, we plan to continue our reinvestment plans for the long-term health of our business, understanding that it will put short-term pressure on earnings.' The group revealed it is to open about 108 stores during the year. Tome added: 'We are confident that, over the long term, we will deliver productivity improvements and enhance returns on invested capital as the investments take hold.'