Home Depot's Q2: The tale of the tape

The Home Depot's Craig Menear, executive VP merchandising, said the company's strong 4.3% comp-store sales performance in the second quarter was boosted by outdoor projects, storm-related repairs and steady strength in core departments.

Performance was aided by Home Depot's improved supply chain and merchandising tools, he said.

"At the end of the first quarter, we chose to carry more inventory to keep our stores fully stocked with seasonal product," Menear told analysts during the company's earnings-report conference call. "This was the right decision. Improvements in the weather combined with our merchandising tools and enhanced transportation network allowed us to end the first half with inventory turns flat to last year."

Departments that beat the company average comp included building materials, electrical, kitchens, indoor garden, outdoor garden and tools. Comps in lighting were flat, he said, while lumber and millwork showed negative comps for the quarter.

Menear said that market share gains were captured in five of 13 departments in the quarter -- flooring, plumbing, electrical, lighting and kitchens.

The heat wave contributed to strength in the company's "air movement" category -- ceiling fans, air conditioners and portable fans showed double-digit positive comps in the quarter, he said.

Menear pointed to a handful of innovative products positioned well for the third quarter. Among them: DeWalt hand tools and its new line of 20-volt lithium ion power tools, Home Decorators Collection faux wood blinds, Martha Stewart Living specialty finishes and Trim & Door paint by Glidden.