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Home Depot same-store sales, boosted by hurricanes and fires, crush Wall Street estimates

  • Home Depot's same-store sales blew past Wall Street estimates, boosted by repairs after devastating hurricanes and wildfires.
  • Home Depot benefited from increased sales of big-ticket items and from a rise in the average shopper's purchases.
  • While many retailers are struggling to grow sales, home improvement businesses such as Home Depot and Lowe's continue to outperform.

Home Depot's same-store sales blew past Wall Street estimates, boosted by repairs after devastating hurricanes and wildfires.

Revenue from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma added roughly $282 million to the sales total for the third quarter, the company said Tuesday. As the number of customer transactions increased, shoppers on average have also been spending more across Home Depot stores.

The Atlanta-based retailer has raised its full-year sales and earnings outlook, based on its projected "hurricane recovery" sales.

Home Depot shares were climbing less than 1 percent Tuesday morning on the news.

Here's what Home Depot reported, compared with what analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting:

  • Earnings of $1.84 a share, excluding items, compared with a forecast of $1.82 per share.
  • Revenue was $25.03 billion, versus an estimate of $24.55 billion.
  • Same-store sales climbed 7.9 percent compared with an increase of 5.8 percent.

"Though this quarter was marked by an unprecedented number of natural disasters, including multiple hurricanes, wildfires in the West, and earthquakes in Mexico, the underlying health of our core business remains solid," CEO Craig Menear said in a statement.

Net income climbed to $2.17 billion, or $1.84 a share, in the fiscal third quarter, compared with $1.97 billion, or $1.60 per share, a year ago.

Revenue was up 8 percent, to $25.03 billion, as Home Depot's sales per square foot also grew nearly 8 percent year over year. Shoppers' average ticket was 5 percent higher, and customer transactions increased by 2.5 percent.

Total same-store sales climbed an impressive 7.9 percent during the latest period, easily outpacing analysts' estimates. Comparable sales for Home Depot's U.S. stores were up 7.7 percent.

Updating its outlook for the complete fiscal year, Home Depot now expects total sales to increase 6.3 percent, up from a projected 5.3 percent. Comparable sales are now predicted to climb 6.5 percent versus prior estimates of 5.5 percent.

The home improvement retailer has also raised its full-year profit outlook and is predicting to earn $7.36 a share, up from its previous forecast of $7.29 per share.

"Home Depot's recent comparable store sales performance and improved sales and earnings guidance is a good indicator that the home improvement sector continues to paint a better outlook as it sidesteps broader retail woes," Moody's Vice President Bill Fahy said.

"Home improvement has remained a retail bright spot even as a myriad of headaches continue to afflict the broader retail industry," Fahy added.

While many retailers are struggling to grow sales, home improvement businesses such as Home Depot and Lowe's continue to outperform in luring shoppers to their stores. E-commerce platforms, including Amazon, haven't yet succeeded in amassing the same product assortments — from lumber to outdoor grills — online.

And in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Home Depot and Lowe's have benefited from the sale of storm-related merchandise such as generators, batteries and rebuilding materials.

During its fiscal third quarter, Home Depot also said it saw stronger sales in expensive items including appliances, vinyl flooring and carpet. Big-ticket sales, or those transactions over $900, were up 12 percent. And Home Depot also said it saw more do-it-yourself shoppers flocking to its stores.

According to the Census Bureau's retail sales data, home improvement spending remains healthier still than most retail categories.

"Favorable economic tailwinds, especially from the housing market, look set to continue in 2018," said GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. "Home Depot has created a proposition that ensures it is the go-to destination online and is successfully defending its business from the rise of Amazon and other internet players."

Home Depot shares have climbed more than 20 percent in 2017. The company will hold its annual investor day on Dec. 6.