Home Depot Q1 sales up 7%, suspends 2020 guidance

The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, has reported sales of $28.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2020, a 7.1% increase on the same period last year.

Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 were a positive 6.4%, and comparable sales in the US were up 7.4%.

Net earnings for the first quarter of this year are reported at $2.2 billion ($2.08 per diluted share), compared with net earnings of $2.5 billion ($2.27 per diluted share), in the same period of fiscal 2019.

To promote a safe environment for both its associates and customers, The Home Depot implemented several operational changes in mid-March, including closing stores earlier to allow more time for sanitation and replenishing of essential products, limiting customer traffic in stores, and cancelling traffic-driving events such as Spring Black Friday.

Craig Menear, Chairman, CEO and President of the firm, said: "As the Covid-19 pandemic evolved, we anchored to the core values of our company by focusing on two key priorities: working to ensure the safety and well-being of our associates and customers, and providing our customers and communities with essential products.

"We took early decisive action to intentionally limit customer traffic in our stores which we believe had a significant impact to sales in many markets. Even with these actions, the robust and flexible interconnected infrastructure that we have invested in for over a decade allowed us to quickly adapt to changing customer preferences and achieve strong sales performance in the quarter."

The firm also expanded paid time off for all its workers with additional hours that can be used at their discretion, and also provided additional paid time off for workers who are aged 65 and older or who are deemed to be at higher risk according to CDC guidelines. Weekly bonuses have also been provided to hourly associates in Home Depot stores distribution centres, overtime pay has been doubled, dependent care benefits have been extended and related co-pays have been waived.

Despite the seemingly strong sales trends at the end of the first quarter, the company is suspending its previously communicated fiscal 2020 guidance.

To date, The Home Depot operates a total of 2,293 retail stores in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.