As the world sheltered in place to avoid the coronavirus, homeowners used the time to make improvements.
The Home Depot, the Atlanta-based home improvement retailer, reported sales of $38.1 billion for the second quarter (Q2), up 23.4 percent from the same period one year ago, the company said in a Tuesday (Aug. 18) press release.
Net earnings for the quarter swelled to $4.3 billion, or $4.02 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $3.5 billion, or $3.17 per diluted share, for Q2 in 2019.
“The investments we have made across the business have significantly increased our agility, allowing us to respond quickly to changes while continuing to promote a safe operating environment,” said Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president, in a statement. “This enhanced our team’s ability to work cross-functionally to better serve our customers and deliver record-breaking sales in the quarter.”
The company reported it invested $480 million in additional benefits for associates, including weekly bonuses for hourly workers in stores and distribution centers.
Year to date, The Home Depot has spent $1.3 billion on enhanced pay and benefits in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. In addition, the home improvement giant said its financial results in the first half of the year meant a record payout for the company’s profit-sharing program for hourly associates.
Its board of directors declared a Q2 cash dividend of $1.50 per share, and the company said it represents the 134th consecutive quarter it has paid a cash dividend.
At the end of the second quarter, the company operated 2,293 retail stores and employs more than 400,000 associates.
Lowe’s Companies Inc. also benefited from the home improvement surge this year.
In the first quarter (Q1) Lowe’s reported comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business rose 12.3 percent.
“In late February, we shifted our priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and immediately focused on how best to serve the needs of our communities during this unprecedented time,” Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin Ellison said in the earnings announcement. “Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our associates and community, and we have demonstrated that commitment in the first quarter through an investment of $340 million, including support for healthcare workers and first responders.”