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Home Depot Boom: DIY Projects, New Construction Fuel Sales Frenzy

(Associated Press) Millions of people forced to work out of the office during the pandemic took on new projects at home and Home Depot is supplying a lot of the DIY material they need.

At Home Depot stores open at least a year, sales surged an remarkable 25% in the U.S. during the second quarter, the Atlanta company reported Tuesday.

Overall revenue hit $38.05 billion, far exceeding the $34.94 billion Wall Street was expecting, according to a Zacks Investment Research survey. The company easily topped last year’s revenue of $30.84 billion for the three months ended Aug. 2.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 23.4%, globally, trailing only the massive surge in comparable-store sales in the U.S. The overall comparable-store sales were almost twice the 12.2% increase that industry analysts had projected.

People have taken on DIY projects at a frenzied pace after being forced out of the office and after a pandemic-induced lull, demand for new houses is ramping up fast.

On Tuesday the Commerce Department reported that construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month. The department said that new homes were started at an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, the highest since February and well above what economists were expecting.

The National Association of Realtors said last month that its index of pending sales rose 16.6%, to 116.1 in June, its highest level since 2006.

Home Depot Inc. earned $4.33 billion, or $4.02 per share, in the quarter, which was also far stronger than the per-share projections of $3.70 from analysts.

A year earlier it earned $3.48 billion, or $3.17 per share.

The company also declared a second-quarter dividend of $1.50 per share. The dividend is payable on Sept. 17 to shareholders of record on Sept. 3.


Construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month as homebuilders bounced back from a lull induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new homes were started an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, highest since February and well above what economists were expecting. Housing starts have now risen three straight months after plunging in March and April as the virus outbreak paralyzed the American economy. Last month’s pace of construction was 23.4% above July 2019’s.

“U.S. housing starts blew the roof off of expectations in July … …. these are the kind of gains seen after storms/hurricanes,” Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. Strong demand and limited supply drove builders to break ground.

The big gains came from the construction of apartments and condominiums, which soared 56.7%. But single-family home construction ticked up, too, by 8.2%.

Construction rose all over — 35.3% in the Northeast, 33.2% in the South, 5.8% in both the Midwest and the West.

Applications for building permits, a good indication of future activity, jumped 18.8% from June to an annual rate of 1.5 million, highest since January and up 9.4% from July 2019.

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