Home Depot reaps $100M storm windfall
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.
Home improvement chain Home Depot said Hurricane Matthew represented .5 percent of third-quarter revenue.