Slow start to spring hurts Home Depot

May 20, 2014, 2:22 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Home Depot Inc. (HD) said its fiscal first-quarter results were stung by a slow start to the key spring selling season, the latest major retailer to say poor winter weather dragged on results.

Though the home-improvement retailer’s sales and net earnings climbed from a year ago, results weren’t as strong as Wall Street expected.

“The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season,” said chairman and chief executive Frank Blake. Still, Home Depot reaffirmed it expects fiscal 2014 sales to rise about 4.8% from last year.

Home Depot has reported stronger sales over the past few years, benefiting from a recovering housing market and the company’s own internal efforts to improve customer service and revamp its supply chain. In fiscal 2013, the retailer reported its strongest same-store sales growth in 14 years.

MORE: Housing is back – and so is Home Depot

But some have signaled the U.S. housing market’s recovery has stalled recently. Bloomberg last month reported sales of previously owned properties dropped 7.5% in March from a year ago, falling to their slowest pace in 20 months.

Home Depot on Tuesday reported net sales jumped 2.9% to $19.69 billion for the quarter ended May 4. Same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, increased 2.6% overall, and climbed 3.3% for stores located in the U.S.

Overall, net earnings grew to $1.38 billion, or $1 a share, up from $1.23 billion, or 83 cents a share, a year ago. The latest period included a four-cent gain related to the sale of Home Depot’s equity ownership in HD Supply Holdings Inc. (HDS), a building-supplies distributor that went public last year.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had projected an adjusted profit, which excludes the gain, of 99 cents a share and sales of $19.95 billion.

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