A big-box comp-store breakdown

This year was supposed to be the breakout year. But so far, one of the clearest measures of home improvement sales success — comp-store sales at Home Depot and Lowe’s — have regressed in 2011.

The two companies completed 2010 with four consecutive quarters of comp-store gains — the first time that happened since 2005. But it only took one quarter of 2011 to end the streak.

The good news: at least Home Depot expects to grow its sales about 2.5% for the year, despite its relatively slow start in the first quarter.

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