Home De­pot reaps $100M storm wind­fall

Baltimore Sun - - BUSINESS MARYLAND - By Kyle Stock

No storm is per­fect, but for Home De­pot they’re all pretty good, at least fi­nan­cially.

This week, the re­tail gi­ant said Hur­ri­cane Matthew and its sub­se­quent flood­ing poured an ad­di­tional $100 mil­lion into sales cof­fers in the quar­ter ended Oct. 30.

The re­tailer rang up big trans­ac­tions on both ends of the Oc­to­ber storm, the coun­try’s first Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane since 2007.

Be­fore the winds hit, res­i­dents across the South­east streamed into Home De­pot for ply­wood, flash­lights, tarps and gen­er­a­tors. Af­ter it passed, they stocked up on dry­wall, chain saws, sump pumps and trash bags.

Matthew killed hun­dreds of peo­ple in Haiti and at least 15 in the United States.

It wreaked havoc in Florida, Ge­or­gia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Vir­ginia. As cli­ma­tol­o­gists warn that global warm­ing is in­ten­si­fy­ing storms, re­tail­ers such as Home De­pot find them­selves in the crit­i­cal po­si­tion of help­ing those in need and the some­what awk­ward po­si­tion of ben­e­fit­ing fi­nan­cially.

With mas­sive, speedy sup­ply chains and cav­ernous aisles, big-box stores ex­cel at ma­jor weather events in a way that smaller hard­ware stores can’t.

“Through strong col­lab­o­ra­tion, we were able to get prod­uct to our com­mu­ni­ties in their time of need,” said Ed­ward Decker, vice pres­i­dent of mer­chan­dis­ing.

Hur­ri­cane Matthew alone was not a great mon­ey­maker for the com­pany.

Rep­re­sent­ing about .5 per­cent of Home De­pot rev­enue in the re­cent quar­ter, it wasn’t nearly as crit­i­cal to earn­ings as ris­ing home eq­uity and a surge in big-ticket pur­chases were. As home­own­ers splurged on floor­ing, new roofs and ap­pli­ances, trans­ac­tions over $900 in­creased by 11.3 per­cent, the re­tailer said.

STEVEN SENNE/AP

Home im­prove­ment chain Home De­pot said Hur­ri­cane Matthew rep­re­sented .5 per­cent of third-quar­ter rev­enue.

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