Here's a tidbit from The Home Depot's latest conference call with analysts that it didn't report in its quarterly earnings statement: Lumber accounts for 7% of the company's revenues. Given the company's $66.2 billion worth of sales last year, that means The Home Depot sold more than $4.6 billion worth of wood last year. That's $1.4 billion more than ProBuild's total sales in 2009.
Here's another tidbit from that same analysts' call: While The Home Depot's net earnings leaped 41% higher in its fiscal first quarter ended May 2 from the year-earlier period to reach $725 million, and sales added 4.3% to $16.9 billion, officials said they have yet to see a recovery in the pro segment of The Home Depot's customer base.
The Home Depot includes in its pro designation not just builders and remodelers but also maintenance managers, rental unit managers, and government workers. Together they account for about 30% of The Home Depot's total sales.
Craig Menear, the Atlanta-based company's executive vice president for merchandising, said that during 2009, year-over-year sales at first declined at double-digit negative percentages early in the year, then moderated to high double-digit negatives. Now, in the first quarter, pro sales are in "a low single-digit negative environment" from a year before.
Some product categories closely tied to the pro market, including fasteners, power tools, and power tool accessories, all showed signs of improvement year over year. But plywood sales still were negative compared with 2009's first quarter, while roofing and windows have performed well but remained below last year's levels.