Home Depot, Lowe's report improving sales

The nation's two largest home improvement retailers announced improved sales and earnings for the third quarter.

The Home Depot reported net earnings of $834 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, compared with $689 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2009.

Sales totaled $16.6 billion, a 1.4 percent increase from the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Comparable store sales for the quarter were up 1.4 percent, and comp sales for U.S. stores were up 1.5 percent.

"Our third quarter sales reflect the fourth consecutive quarter of positive same store sales for our business. As the business stabilizes, we continue to improve our operational performance. We are exercising good control over our expenses but we're also investing in the business to drive improvements across customer service, merchandising and our supply chain," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO.

The company expects fiscal 2010 sales to be up approximately 2.2 percent for the year.

Lowe's Companies Inc. reported net earnings of $404 million, a 17.4 percent increase from the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 26.1 percent to 29 cents from 23 cents in the third quarter of 2009.

Sales for the quarter increased 1.9 percent to $11.6 billion, up from $11.4 billion in the third quarter of 2009.