Home Depot business up, despite weather

The rainy, cooler-than-usual spring didn’t dampen earnings for Atlanta-based Home Depot.

The retail giant said Tuesday its first quarter net earnings were $1.2 billion, or 83 cents per share, in spite of the less-than-hospitable weather. That compared to net earnings of $1 billion, or 68 cents per share, during the same period in fiscal 2012.

A big reason for the surge in earnings: home building. The company said that for the first time in years, business from the “pro customer” — i.e. builders and other professionals — outpaced money spent by consumers.

Business out west led the way with California, hard hit by the Great Recession, posting double-digit same-store sales growth in many areas, the company said.

As a result, the company raised its profit and sales outlook for the remainder of the year. The company said fiscal 2013 sales will be up about 2.8 percent with same-store sales improving 4 percent for the year.

“In the first quarter, we saw less favorable weather compared to last year, but we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business,” Frank Blake, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.