Home Depot’s first-quarter profits fell 30% on a sales increase of less than 1%.

Home Depot Inc.’s first-quarter profits fell 30 percent on a sales increase of less than 1 percent.
Home Depot blamed much of the decline on the slumping U.S. housing market. “The housing market continues to be a challenge, and erratic weather conditions across the United States negatively affected our spring selling season,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. “We believe the home improvement market will remain soft throughout 2007.”
The company reported a first-quarter profit of $1.05 billion, down from $1.48 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Sales for the first quarter totaled $21.6 billion, up just 0.6 percent from the first quarter of 2006.
On the retail side, quarterly sales dropped 4 percent to $18.5 billion, with comparable-store sales down 8 percent. Meanwhile, sales for HD Supply grew 46 percent to $3 billion - although this increase reflects acquired businesses. Last year, HD Supply was actively acquiring wholesale distributors. Last February, however, the company announced plans to possibly shed the wholesale unit.