• 64°

DIY projects ramp up in pandemic and so do sales at Lowe’s

By Michelle Chapman and Anne D’innocenzio, AP Business Writers

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. became the latest big box retailer to report surging sales during the fiscal second quarter as Americans are finding more ways to improve their home during the pandemic.

Comparable store sales in the U.S. spiked 35.1% at Lowe’s, and online orders more than doubled.

The report, issued Wednesday, comes one day after Home Depot reported similarly explosive sales.

Lowe’s move to revamp its outdated online business paid off in the fiscal first quarter, as shoppers shut in because of the pandemic shifted to online services for supplies for their do-it-yourself home projects. Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison told analysts during the earnings call Wednesday that many of these projects weren’t planned on the list, but were extra projects.

“Customers are finding projects around the house,” he said. “We don’t see this as pull-forward. We see this as incremental.”

During a call with The Associated Press, Ellison said that some of the money from the government stimulus checks is spurring sales, but shoppers are also diverting their spending away from traveling and other areas toward the home.

Lowe’s revenue for the three months ended July 31 climbed to $27.3 billion from $21 billion, the company said Wednesday, far better than the $24.85 billion analysts expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Online sales soared 135%, while same-store sales, including those outside the U.S., rose 34.2%.

Ellison said in a prepared statement that customers seemed mostly focused on repair and maintenance of their homes.

At the same time, many are focused on finding a new home with more space for an office from which to work remotely, or one with a yard rather than a stoop.

On Tuesday the Commerce Department reported that construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month. The department said that new homes were started at an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, the highest since February and well above what economists were expecting.

The National Association of Realtors said last month that its index of pending sales rose 16.6%, to 116.1 in June, its highest level since 2006.

Lowe’s earned $2.83 billion, or $3.74 per share, in the quarter. Removing restructuring costs, earnings were $3.75 per share. That’s better than the $3.03 per share Wall Street expected.

Shares of Lowe’s Cos., based in Mooresville, North Carolina, climbed slightly Wednesday and are hovering at around $158.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Colleges grapple with coronavirus as students return

North Carolina agencies implement ‘fair chance’ employment policies

Business

Large outdoor venues will be allowed to open at 7% in North Carolina

News

NC 12 reopening pushed back to Wednesday afternoon

News

Sections of NC 12 remains closed, Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service suspended

News

Sen. Tillis: Trump to extend offshore drilling moratorium to North Carolina

News

Manteo hires deputy town clerk

News

Kill Devil Hills commissioners approve new land use plan

Business

Hall named to Currituck Chamber board

News

Cape Hatteras National Seashore posts beach conditions update for Monday morning

News

NCDOT expects parts of NC 12 to remain closed through Tuesday afternoon

News

North Carolina’s unemployment rate falls to nearly half of lockdown’s peak

Crime

Arrest made in Saturday shooting on Knotts Island

News

NC 12 on Hatteras Island to reopen at 5 p.m., NCDOT advises ‘extreme caution’

News

NC 12 on Ocracoke back open, ferry service resumes

News

Overwash causes closure of parts of NC 12 on Hatteras and Ocracoke

News

Running out of storm names, Atlantic season goes Greek

News

Regional COVID-19 case count update

News

Permit for water treatment system issued for Chemours site

News

Duck Town Council reviews promotions and contracts

News

Mascot name change presentation brought to Dare Board of Education

News

Dare County warns about coastal flooding and NC 12 impact

News

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative linemen travel to Alabama to assist with Hurricane Sally damage

Crime

UPDATED: Body found in Virginia believed to be missing North Carolina man, suspect charged

Hyde

NCDOT: Bigfoot Slough dredging tentatively scheduled for next week

News

Cooper: North Carolina can elementary schools move to Plan A in October