Home Depot tops Wall Street expectations, citing ‘unprecedented demand’

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Home Depot on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings that demolished Wall Street’s expectations, as demand for the retailer’s products remained robust as the pandemic eased.

CEO Craig Menear said the company benefitted from “unprecedented demand” in the fiscal first quarter, which ended May 2.

The company reported net sales of $37.5 billion — up a staggering 32.7 percent compared with the same time last year, when the pandemic first hit corporate earnings. Wall Street analysts expected $34.96 billion in net sales.

Same-store sales rose 31 percent from a year ago, beating Wall Street expectations of a 19.9 percent increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

And the company reported net income of $4.15 billion, or $3.86 per share, up from $2.25 billion, or $2.08 per share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting earnings per share of $3.08.

“Fiscal 2021 is off to a strong start as we continue to build on the momentum from our strategic investments and effectively manage the unprecedented demand for home improvement projects,” Menear said in a statement.

The company did not provide a forecast for 2021.

Shares of Home Depot rose more than 2 percent in premarket trading. The stock is up over 20 percent since Jan. 1.

Home Depot and rival Lowe’s have managed to keep sales strong over the past year as Americans looked to upgrade their homes amid sweeping restrictions spurred by the pandemic. Both companies also benefited by being deemed essential retailers that were largely allowed to stay open during the height of the crisis. 

Now investors will watch to see whether Home Depot can keep sales elevated as society opens up, and as Americans have more options when it comes to where they spend their money. 

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