Home Depot revenues up in strong start to year

05/05/2021 — Vinings, Georgia — The Home Depot Store Support Center is located in Vinings, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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05/05/2021 — Vinings, Georgia — The Home Depot Store Support Center is located in Vinings, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Editor’s note: This story will be updated through the day with more detail about the company’s announcements.

Home Depot powered through inflation during the first quarter thanks to surging demand from consumers who want to buff up their homes as its sales in the first three months of the fiscal year grew to nearly $39 billion.

Revenues ere 3.8% higher than the same period a year earlier, as the Vinings-based company recorded net earnings of $4.2 billion.

“Fiscal 2022 is off to a strong start,” CEO Ted Decker said during a conference call with analysts and reporters. “The solid performance in the quarter is even more impressive as we were comparing against last year’s historic growth.”

Home Depot is a bellwether company for the nation’s housing economy.

In the early months of the pandemic, consumer spending shifted dramatically toward buying goods, especially for homes where many workers were effectively trapped — a trend that sent Home Depot sales soaring.

Last year, Home Depot sales topped $150 billion, and the return of consumer spending on services has not undercut that trend, Decker said.

While inflation has added to what average consumers spend at Home Depot, it hasn’t yet cooled their appetite for home improvement, he said. “The customers’ engagement is much more resilient than we thought.”

The company said it has become more optimistic about the coming year’s business, telling analysts that they expect sales to grow at about a 3% rate during the current fiscal year.

Home Depot operates 2,316 retail stores, including some in Canada and Mexico. The company has about 500,000 employees.

Home Depot’s business is divided between do-it-yourselfers and professional contractors. But ultimately, demand is driven by rising home values and a market in which many people prefer investing in home improvement to looking for another place to live, Richard McPhail, the company’s chief financial officer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The base for Home Depot’s business is the 130 million housing units in the United States, he said.

Average U.S. home values are up more than 30% in the past two years, and owners’ equity in their property has climbed even more, he said.

“The homeowner has never had a balance sheet that looks like this,” he said.

Interest rates have more than doubled since December, effectively crimping the purchase power of buyers. But for homeowners who are paying a fixed-rate for their mortgage or who have no mortgage at all, the ascending rates are irrelevant, McPhail said.

“And the vast majority of them are not that sensitive to mortgage rates,” he said.

When the economy stalls, customers tend to start buying similar, but cheaper items, he said.

“We do watch for signs of ‘trade down.’ But we are seeing trade up,” he said.

Home Depot stock peaked late last year at more than $415 a share before sliding along with much of the market to drop below $283 recently. Home Depot shares rose in early trading Tuesday to more than $310 before falling as the morning went on.

Home Depot stock was trading at about $294 a share mid-day.


The Home Depot’s revenues by quarter in billions

Fiscal year 2022

Q1: $38.90

Fiscal year 2021

Q4: $35.72

Q3: $36.82

Q2: $41.12

Q1: $37.50

Fiscal year 2020

Q4: $32.26

Q3: $33.54

Q2: $38.05

Q1: $28.26

Fiscal year 2019

Q4: $25.78

Q3: $27.22

Q2: $30.84

Q1: $26.38

Sources: The Home Depot, MacroTrends