While both Home Depot and Lowe’s were clear retail winners this year, the latter has arguably benefited more thanks to a less urban footprint and a higher proportion of do-it-yourself customers. That may be a winning formula today, but Home Depot is the one that seems poised for more upside post-pandemic.
That isn’t to dismiss the gains that both retailers have seen. Neither experienced much of a slowdown in sales growth last quarter, as consumers continued spending more time and money on their homes.
Home Depot’s revenue rose 23% from a year earlier in its third quarter, basically the same growth it enjoyed the prior quarter. Lowe’s saw sales increase 28% in its latest quarter, after growing 30% in the previous period. Both results were above analyst expectations. Outdoor and garden categories proved popular; Home Depot noted that its 12-foot skeletons sold out before October.
Sales to DIY customers have been growing faster for Home Depot and Lowe’s compared with professionals such as general contractors and renovators, providing a larger sales uplift to Lowe’s, which focuses more on that kind of customer. Lowe’s also has less exposure to urban markets, where people were initially more skittish about stepping foot inside stores due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That has been reflected in the share price movement: Lowe’s was trouncing Home Depot by as much as 16.7 percentage points earlier this year, but the gap has narrowed considerably. Today, their share-price performance looks pretty much the same year-to-date.