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Home Depot misses forecasts, hurt by slow season

Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement chain, reported lower-than-expected results as its spring selling season got off to a slow start after a severe winter in many parts of the United States.

Shares dipped in pre-market trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes.)

The company posted earnings of 96 cents a share, excluding one-time items, on sales of $19.7 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 99 cents a share on $19.95 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Including items, the company earnings $1 a share in the first quarter.

Comparable-store sales increased 2.6 percent.

"The first quarter was impacted by a slow start to the spring selling season. But we had solid results in non-weather impacted markets and expect our sales for the year to grow in line with the guidance we previously provided," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of Home Depot in a press release.

Home Depot, however, maintained its sales growth forecast of 4.8 percent for the year ending January.

The company raised its full-year earnings forecast to $4.42 per share from $4.38 per share. The increase reflects a 4 cents per share benefit from the sale of shares in HD Supply Holdings and Home Depot's share buybacks this year.

The company gets much of its business from building contractors, who are vulnerable to weather-related disruptions.

Spring is also an important time for Home Depot as households prepare their gardens and get set for the barbecue season.

The company said it intended to buy back up to $3.75 billion additional shares this year.

Rival Lowe's is slated to post earnings Wednesday before the bell.

Last month, the retailer said it will put a lid on new-store openings and focus on its expansion efforts on e-commerce to cater to changing shopper habits, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Home Depot has about 2,263 retail stores including in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Mexico.

--Reuters contributed to this report.

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