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Home Depot's Menear points to Q1 category wins

The Home Depot's executive VP merchandising Craig Menear said he was pleased with the company's first-quarter performance in its core business. Some categories, of course, did better than others.

The company's first-quarter results showed overall comp-store sales declined 0.6%, but several categories were positive -- electrical, kitchens, tools, plumbing, paint and flooring. Hardware also outperformed the company's average comp for the quarter, he said.

The retailer saw positive comps in all hard surface categories in flooring, as well as organization, interior paint and faucets.

The outdoor sales were impacted by bad weather. "Excluding the outdoor categories, we would have exceeded our sales plan for the quarter." Instead, the company fell short of its internal expectations, as sales declined 0.2% to $16.8 billion in the quarter.

Among specific products, one of the brightest growth stories is among LED light bulbs. "Strong sales of our EcoSmart and Philips LED light bulbs drove the LED subclass of light bulbs to more than 500% growth year over year," Menear said. 

During his remarks at the earnings call, Menear also gave specific mention to Milwaukee Red Lithium portable power tools, Ryobi lithium ion powered tools for the yard, USG lightweight drywall and the new KILZ Pro-X paint for pros.

"Looking ahead, we continue to believe transaction improvement will lead to growth in the first half of the year, and improvement in average ticket will be more sustaining in the back half of the year," Menear said.

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