The Home Depot achieved a strong sales performance in the first quarter as the retailer strengthened its operations as the coronavirus spread.
The home improvement retailer reported sales of $28.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2020, a 7.1% increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 were a positive 6.4%, and comparable sales in the U.S. were a positive 7.5%.
“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 and decisive action to intentionally limit customer traffic in our stores which we believe had a significant impact to sales in many markets,” said Craig Menear, chairman, CEO and president. “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.”
In support of these two objectives, the company took several actions to prioritize safety and enhance associate benefits. To promote a safe environment for associates and customers, the company implemented a number of 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 canceling traffic-driving events such as Spring Black Friday.
As a result of the actions taken to support associates, the company incurred a total of approximately $850 million of pre-tax expense, or approximately $640 million after tax, equaling $0.60 per diluted share.
Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 were $2.2 billion, or $2.08 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $2.5 billion, or $2.27 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2019. For the first quarter of fiscal 2020, diluted earnings per share decreased 8.4% from the same period in the prior year.
“I want to thank our associates and express how grateful and proud I am of the resilience and strength that our teams have demonstrated as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances together,” said Menear.