Shares of online home-goods retailer Wayfair (NYSE:W) had a tremendous run in April, as it became clear that stuck-at-home consumers were still shopping -- and quite a few were shopping at Wayfair's sites.
Wayfair's stock ended April with a gain of 132.1%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Here's some important context for that huge April gain: Wayfair's stock, like many others, had a much rougher ride in March.
But by the end of April, it had recovered to pre-coronavirus levels -- and beyond. It has surged even higher since.
Here's what drove that big run-up in April and since: Wayfair's sales have surged since most brick-and-mortar rivals were forced to shutter their stores in mid-March amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement on April 6, Wayfair confirmed that its business had been booming since mid-March. Wayfair's gross revenue had been running at about 20% above year-ago levels before the crisis, but it was up more than 40% year over year by the end of March and into April.
While other retailers were slashing costs and suspending guidance, Wayfair said it was on track to meet or exceed the quarterly guidance it had provided on Feb. 28. It did exactly that when it reported earnings on May 5, sending the stock up another 26%.
There's no question that Wayfair has made the most of the opportunity to increase sales while its rivals' stores are closed. But now it gets tougher, with states lifting restrictions and competitors' stores beginning to reopen.
Wayfair itself acknowledged that on May 5, when it declined to give guidance for the current quarter. Consumer-discretionary investors have made Wayfair's stock a darling for the time being, but this is still a money-losing company with a very volatile stock: Investors' patience might well be tested over the next few months.