Home Depot on Tuesday beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations for the fourth quarter, and CEO Craig Menear said the results show that its significant investments are paying off.
Here’s what the company reported compared with what analysts expected for Home Depot’s fiscal fourth quarter, based on Refinitiv data:
- Earnings per share: $2.28 vs. $2.10, expected
- Revenue: $25.78 billion vs. $25.76 billion, expected
- Same-store sales: 5.2% vs. up 4.8%, expected
The Atlanta-based home improvement retailer’s shares were up 2.7% in premarket trading on the earnings news. It also increased its dividend by 10% and backed its prior forecast for the year.
For the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 2, Home Depot reported that net income rose 5.8% to $2.48 billion, or $2.28 a share, from $2.34 billion, or $2.09, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected the company to earn $2.10 a share.
Revenue fell 2.7% to $25.78 billion from $26.49 billion a year earlier but outpaced analyst estimates of $25.76 billion.
Home Depot’s sales per square foot were $425.70, up nearly 3% from $414.17 a year earlier. Its average ticket also increased to $68.29, up about 4% from $65.59 a year earlier.
Home Depot’s shares have been trading near an all-time high, buoyed by a strong U.S. economy and a housing market with appreciating home values. But the company is been under pressure as it spends billions of dollars to integrate its brick-and-mortar stores and online business. It announced plans in 2017 to invest about $11 billion over three years as part of its “One Home Depot” program.
The company cut its forecast twice in 2019. In December, Home Depot said its forecast for 2020 sales would be below Wall Street expectations and its margins would be pressured by its investments. That news caused the company’s shares to temporarily fall.
On Tuesday, Home Depot reiterated its forecast for fiscal 2020, calling for total sales growth of 3.5% to 4% and same-store sales growth of 3.5% to 4%. It plans to open six new stores in 2020.
Menear said fiscal 2019 was “marked by significant progress as we invest to transform ourselves into The Home Depot of the future.”
He said the company has “more conviction than ever that our strategic initiatives are creating a value proposition that is unique to the marketplace and will extend our leadership position for years to come.”
Home Depot leaders have said its investments will peak this year. The company plans to spend $3.9 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2019 and $3.3 billion in 2018.
Home Depot’s investments have fueled changes, such as improving signage to make its big-box stores easier to navigate, revamping its supply chain to speed deliveries and adding lockers in stores for pickup of online purchases.
Home Depot’s sales often reflect the strength of the housing market, especially when homeowners see their home values rise and have low interest rates. U.S. homebuilding fell less than expected in January and permits rose to a near 13-year high. Homebuilder confidence was at a two-year high, too, according to a February survey.
It’s also been a mild winter in many parts of the U.S., which may have allowed more homebuilding and renovation projects to continue.
The company’s shares are up nearly 25% over the past 12 months. It has a market value of about $261.5 billion.
Investors will listen on Tuesday’s earnings call to hear if Home Depot and its supply chain will be hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. About 70% of the company’s products are sourced from the U.S., but 30% come from other parts of the world — with much of that coming from China, according to company spokeswoman Sara Gorman.
Home Depot is gearing up for spring, its busiest sales season. It said it plans to hire 80,000 additional employees, with many part-time hires staffing its garden center, on par with seasonal hiring in recent years.
Home Depot is the largest home improvement chain in the country. It has about 2,290 retail stores and more than 400,000 employees across the U.S., Canada, Mexico.
Correction: An earlier version misstated the expected earnings in one reference. Refinitiv’s survey projected $2.10 per share.