Thirty-three of the company’s top 40 markets posted positive same-store sales. Its northeastern region was the main one in which some markets saw negative sales.
While the company continued to see demand for maintenance and repair projects, a positive sign also emerged in sales of higher-priced items. The number of customer transactions rose 1.7%, while the average transaction amount rose 2.9% to $54.55, marking a sixth straight quarter of transaction and ticket growth.
While customer transactions — or “tickets” — under $50, representing approximately 20% of Home Depot’s U.S. sales, were flat, transactions over $900, also about one-fifth of U.S. sales, were up 4.3%, driven by demand for appliances, flooring and in-stock kitchens.
Analysts have said a recovery in bigger-ticket items offers a view into consumers’ willingness to shell out beyond basic repair needs. Blake said the company’s windows business, hard hit during the economic downturn, also has seen a return to growth.
“Customers are beginning to be willing to step in and do the decor projects,” Blake said on the call. See story on Home Depot’s e-commerce strategy.
Home Depot, which saw demand rise as consumers readied for Hurricane Sandy, said recovery and rebuilding efforts will positively impact its sales — to an extent comparable to the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Irene, with possible upside because of the bigger property damage estimated to have resulted from Sandy. The Home Depot executives, however, are uncertain about the timing of that impact. The company said consumers buying batteries, flashlights, generators and extension cords ahead of Sandy buttressed third-quarter sales by about $70 million.