A Past Corporate Performance Indexes.
Fiscal 1997 marked the 12th consecutive year of record earnings delivered to our stockholders. We topped the $1 billion mark in net earnings for the first time through a combination of strong sales and efficient operations. Net earnings for the year increased 30% to $1.2 billion, and earnings per share grew 27% to $1.64, excluding a $104 million pretax non-recurring charge recorded in fiscal 1997.
Sales for fiscal 1997 totaled $24.2 billion, a solid 24% increase considering fiscal 1997 contained 52 weeks versus 53 weeks in fiscal 1996. Comparable store-for-store sales were strong, increasing 7% over a 7% increase in the previous year. Operating expenses, excluding the non-recurring charge, decreased as a percent of sales for the year, as we focused on increasing sales productivity in the stores even while investing dollars and resources in the Company's future growth. .
All of this resulted in The Home Depot delivering pretax earnings, excluding the non-recurring charge, of 8.3% of sales, not only the highest of the major competitors in the industry, but also the Company's highest since fiscal 1982.
The Home Depot ended fiscal 1997 with 624 stores in 41 states in the United States and 4 provinces in Canada, a 22% increase from the previous year.
B Strategic Posture.
1. Home Depot current mission- The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices. We are a values-driven company and our eight core values include the following: Excellent customer service, Taking care of our people, Giving back, Doing the "right" thing, Creating shareholder value, Respect for all people, Entrepreneurial spirit, and Building strong relationships.
2. Home Depot current objectives.
• To maintain Home Depot's attitude of complete customer satisfaction.