The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) reported better than expected earnings during the third quarter of the current fiscal year as the housing market recovers. The world’s largest home improvement retailer posted $18.1 billion sales, 4.6 percent higher than its $17.3 billion sales during the same period last year.

Home Depot

During the third quarter, The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) reported a net income of $947 million, or 63 cents per share. The outcome was 1.4 percent higher than its $934 million, or 60 cents per share, net income during the same quarter in 2011. On an adjusted basis, the company reported earnings of $1.1 billion, or 74 cents per share, a 23.3 percent increase from its earnings last year. Home Depot’s earnings beat the 70 cents per share consensus estimate of analysts, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) adjusted its performance outlook for 2012. The home improvement retailer increased its sales growth outlook by 5.2 percent for 2012. The company expects to increase its diluted earnings per share by 18 percent, to $2.92.

In a statement, Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of the company said, “Our third-quarter results were better than we expected and reflected, in part, what we believe is the start of the path toward the healing of the housing market.” He also expressed his gratitude to all the associates of the company who are helping in the communities affected by hurricane Sandy. According to him, “They are working under difficult circumstances, often with their own lives and homes disrupted by the storm, and their efforts exemplify our core values.”

The sales of Home Depot increased during the height of Hurricane Sandy, as customers rushed to the stores to buy important supplies, such as batteries, flashlights, generators, and electrical cords. The company expects to generate approximately $360 million revenue, which is the revenue generated by the company from hurricane Irene last year. Analysts believe that Home Depot’s sales this year could be higher than its sales after hurricane Irene, because Sandy caused as much as $20 billion in damages.

The stock price of The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) is up by more than 4 percent to $63.74 per share during the midday trading at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the shares of its competitor, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), are also up by 0.28 percent to $32.07 per share. On Monday, Julie Yenichek, spokesperson for Lowe’s, denied reports that the company renewed its takeover proposal of Rona. According to Yenichek, “Since we withdrew our proposal, we have had no further conversations with Rona.” Last September, owe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW)’s withdrew its $1.8 billion proposal to take over the Canadian home improvement retailer after its board of directors rejected it.