+ + Home Depot Benefits From Hurricane Sandy
Home Depot Benefits From Hurricane Sandy

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. 

While residents of New Jersey and New York felt the pain of Hurricane Sandy, Home Depot ( HD)  benefited from increased sales of products for aiding in recovery. In Home Depot's  Q1 2012  held on February 26, 2013, Frank Blake, Executive Chairman and CEO, noted the New Jersey and New York regions were Home Depot's best performing, as customers purchased products for repairing and rebuilding. Carol Tome, CFO, indicated increased sales due to Hurricane Sandy were approximately $242 million. Additionally, Craig Menear, Executive Vice President of Merchandising, noted the company expects to see continued sales due to Hurricane Sandy through the first half of the year.

Mr. Blake indicated Home Depot's Q4 sales were $18.2 billion, which represents 13.9% year-over-year growth. Comparable sales for the company for Q4 were 7% with the U.S. having comparable sales of 7.1%.

Mr. Black also noted that other areas of the U.S., which were negatively affected by the housing downturn, Florida, California and Arizona, are experiencing recovery. However, Ms. Tome noted the company does not expect to see the housing market fully recover in 2013. Home Depot's sales in Canada and Mexico performed well with the company now having 100 stores in Mexico.

The company's sales to its pro segment grew and on an even more positive note, sales to its smaller pro segment grew as well. The company's service business continues to recover and experienced double-digit growth. Additionally, the company reported strong sales on Black Friday, which drove record performance.

Home Depot rolled out its buy online and ship to store capability in the fourth quarter and completed its acquisition of BlackLocus, a retail analytics firm that strengthens the company's capability for merchandising.

The company believes it took some market share in the appliance segment, boosted by the company's efforts in expanding the appliance product offering in 120 stores. The company plans to continue to expand its appliance product offering in 120 more stores in 2013.

Home Depot ended the year with 2,256 stores and expects 2013 comparable sales growth in the low single digits, with expectations tempered due to modest growth expected in GDP and pressures on its customers related to reduced disposable income and continued constraints on credit availability.


-Ernie Zerenner,