updated 11/17/2009 8:01:30 AM ET 2009-11-17T13:01:30

Home Depot Inc.'s third-quarter earnings fell 8.9 percent as the housing and renovation markets remained weak, the nation's largest home improvement retailer said Tuesday.

The company also raised its full-year earnings outlook as the quarter's earnings topped expectations. CEO Frank Blake said the company has seen signs of stabilization in real estate and has added market share in the quarter.

Home Depot and other home-improvement retailers have faced sales declines as consumers hold back on do-it-yourself projects amid worry over jobs and home values. Although the U.S. housing market is stabilizing, after a nearly three-year decline, home prices remain far below their peak.

On Monday, Home Depot's smaller rival Lowe's Cos. reported third-quarter profit fell 30 percent as sales declined 3 percent. Lowe's also observed that some of the hardest-hit home markets are stabilizing and said it expects this year's fourth quarter to be stronger than last year's.

Home Depot said declines in the average checkout receipt eased a bit in the quarter, falling 7.1 percent to $51.89, compared with 8.2 percent for the year to date. Falling purchases of big-ticket items like major appliances have been a particular worry for Home Depot and Lowe's.

Net income was $689 million, or 41 cents per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 1.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $16.36 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 36 cents per share on revenue of $16.27 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 6.9 percent. That figure is considered a key measurement for retailers because it excludes the effect of store expansions or closings.

For the full year, Home Depot now expects earnings per share from continuing operations of about $1.50. That would be a 9.5 percent increase from last year, better than the company's previous expected range of flat to up 7 percent.

Home Depot now expects adjusted earnings of $1.55 per share for the full year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect $1.52.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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