Home Depot (HD -1.37%) on Tuesday announced a strong finish to its fiscal 2019 and projected another record sales year ahead.
Sales growth sped up, with comparable-store sales rising 5% compared to 4% in the third quarter. That uptick met management's forecast and helped the company stand out from other national retailers like Walmart and Target, which announced slowing growth in late 2019.
Home Depot's net earnings rose 6%, although profitability fell slightly as the chain spent more cash on its stores and on upgrades to its digital offerings .
The home improvement company projected another year of elevated spending ahead, which should keep operating margin down at about 14% of sales from roughly 14.5% in 2018. Home Depot sees another record year for revenue as comps rise by between 3.5% and 4%, buoyed by strong consumer spending in the housing and home improvement markets.
Management also took the opportunity to raise the annual dividend payment by 10%. The stock now pays $6 per share, which equates to about 57% of the expected earnings haul this year of $10.45 per share.