Home Depot to upgrade stores as it pursues $120 billion in sales




Home Depot, the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, plans to invest more in its stores and employees in the next three years as it pursues a new target of almost $120 billion in annual sales.

Ahead of an annual meeting with analysts and investors on Wednesday, the Atlanta-based company also announced plans to buy back as much as $15 billion in stock. The retailer reiterated earlier earnings and sales growth forecasts for the current year.

Home Depot vowed to spend more on its supply chain and customer experience, aiming to adapt to the upheaval rocking the retail industry. Though the chain has largely been immune to customers defecting to Amazon.com — it’s usually impractical to buy a 2-by-4 of lumber online — management wants to make sure Home Depot doesn’t get passed by.

“The retail landscape is changing at unprecedented rates,” Chief Executive Officer Craig Menear said in a statement.

Home Depot has been benefiting from a rebound in U.S. housing prices, which has spurred owners to spend more on fixing up their properties. Under its new long-term goals, sales may reach as much as $119.8 billion in fiscal 2020, growing 4.5 percent to 6 percent annually.

Annual capital spending will represent about 2.5 percent of sales, the company said.

Home Depot expects fiscal 2017 diluted earnings per share to grow about 14 percent to $7.36. It intends to repurchase an additional $2.1 billion of shares in the fourth quarter, it said, bringing total fiscal 2017 share repurchases to $8 billion.