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By Associated Press, Wire Service Content Feb. 23, 2021, at 6:50 a.m

Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #business-all

Passers-by walk near an entrance to a Home Depot home improvement store Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Boston. The Home Depot’s fiscal fourth-quarter sales surged 25% as the home improvement chain continues to meet the demands of consumers stuck at home and a resilient housing market. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The housing market is extremely hot, one of the few economic bright spots for the U.S. economy, and Home Depot is in the middle of it, reporting sales exceeding $132 billion in 2020.

In the final quarter of the year, sales surged 25% and on Tuesday, the nation’s biggest home improvement chain boosted its quarterly dividend 10%, to $1.65 per share.

Revenue rose to $32.26 billion from $25.78 billion, topping Wall Street expectations of $30.66 billion, according to a survey of analysts by Zacks Investment Research.

Global sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, climbed 24.5%, and by 25% if only U.S. stores are counted.

With millions working and attending school remotely, many families have decided bigger homes, or at least different homes, are the answer. That has pushed sales of homes, and home supplies, though the roof. On Friday the National Association of Realtors said existing U.S. home sales in January soared 23.7% from a year earlier.

Home Depot Inc. earned $2.86 billion, or $2.65 per diluted share, for the three months ended Jan. 31 compared with $2.48 billion, or $2.28 per diluted share, a year earlier.

Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions, were $2.74 per share. That handily beat the $2.63 per share Wall Street was calling for.

The Atlanta company continues to withhold guidance for 2021, like many others, due to the ongoing uncertainty related to the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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