ATLANTA-The Home Depot pulled in earnings of $1.5 billion during its Q3, which ended Oct. 30, a 20% over the same year-ago period. Meanwhile sales jumped $2 billion, or 10.5%, to $20.7 billion, while same-store sales increased 3.6%.

During the quarter the retailer opened 37 new stores in North America, bringing its total to 1,972. The company has opened 900 stores in the last five years, and executives expect to open the 2,000th Home Depot during the current quarter. Two stores remain closed due to the recent hurricanes in the Southeast.

The chain’s average ticket was $58.92, up 6.1% from last year’s third quarter. New products introduced at stores include Makita- and Milwaukee-brand lithium power tools and more paint colors. Among the strong-selling items during the quarters were kitchen appliances and installations, as well as generators, tarps, chainsaws and roofing materials in hurricane-affected areas.

For the year, executives say that the company will spend $3.9 billion in capital expenditures, $1 billion of that on technology upgrades. One of the technology upgrades the company has undertaken includes the introduction of self-checkout systems in 1,205 of its stores.

The strong quarter and a good start so far in the Q4 has prompted executives to up their full-year guidance for the company. They now expect sales to jump from 10% to 12% from last year, up from the 9% to 12% earlier projected. Earnings are now on track to rise from 17% to 18%, instead of 14% to 17%. “The fourth quarter has started out very strong,” said Carol Tomé, the company’s executive vice president and CFO, during Home Depot’s quarterly conference call.

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