By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
With more time spent at home, people finally undertook those long-delayed, home-improvement projects, giving Lowe Cos. Inc. a boost in first-quarter earnings.
“We served broad-based project activity, ranging from outdoor landscaping and other beautification projects to essential indoor repair and maintenance work and long deferred home projects, the to-do list that customers hadn’t previously tackled given their busy schedule,” said Lowe’s Chief Executive Marvin Ellison on the Wednesday earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.
Comps for the do-it-yourself category “slightly outpaced” those for the professional category, Ellison said.
“Towards the latter end of the quarter, consumers’ focus has shifted towards their gardens and our data show a sharp uplift in the number of people undertaking gardening projects and/or buying new outdoor furniture and accessories,” wrote Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail.
“In our view, this is helpful for Lowe’s as its garden center proposition is relatively strong. Outdoor living collections and furnishings have also been enhanced and ranges are more compelling and prominent in stores.”
“So the pros definitely faced some headwinds from the state mandates,” said William Lennie, executive vice president of outside sales and service at Home Depot, during that company’s earnings call on Tuesday, according to a FactSet transcript.
“We also had some restrictions in the form of inability to get permits issued or job-site inspections completed so they can move on with their projects. And finally, there were some headwinds there with homeowners just having the reluctance to have crews working in their home when they were sheltered in place.”
Still, Home Depot executives say that both professional and DIY business had a good showing.
Home Depot forecasts that these professional projects have simply been delayed.
“[I]n our own services business, which is some of our best pros, we’re not seeing a high cancellation rate of the jobs,” said Craig Menear, chief executive of Home Depot. “It’s just a postponement. The customer still wants those to go on.”
Home Depot suspended its financial guidance.