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Home Depot sees robust sales during pandemic

Michael E. Kanell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

In a pandemic-distorted economy, Home Depot raked in $132 billion in revenue from February 2020 to January 2021, an increase of nearly 20% over the previous fiscal year.

The public health crisis triggered massive spending on home improvements, adding dramatically to demand for materials and equipment from both professionals and do-it-yourselfers.

"For many of our customers, home has never been more important," Home Depot chairman and chief executive Craig Menear said in a conference call with analysts and reporters.

The fourth fiscal quarter was the company's strongest, with sales of $32.3 billion and net earnings of $2.5 billion. Net earnings for the year were $12.9 billion.

But the ongoing pandemic has driven the company's expenses much higher. Home Depot spent more than $2 billion on higher pay for workers and about $240 million on personal protection equipment, extra cleaning of stores and other safety protocols.

For many businesses, the economic fallout has been disastrous, especially those depending on in-person interactions. But, for those with robust e-commerce operations, the year was one of expansion.

 

Home Depot benefited from the trend to online as well as the sudden out-of-office exile of many white-collar workers, said Menear. "We see a continued blend of the physical and digital worlds," he said. As white collar professionals work from home, they tend to find renovation projects, Home Depot officials said.

While the pandemic roiled the labor market and led to millions losing their jobs, the vast majority of the unemployed are lower-wage workers who tend to be renters.

Home Depot's revenue growth has come without a slew of store openings. Last year, the company expanded by just five stores, officials said.

The massive chain, which is headquartered in Vinings, now has more than 400,000 employees and 2,296 retail locations, most of them in the United States.

©2021 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.