Sherwin-Williams (SHW -2.72%) stock has outperformed the market through mid-August, with shares up about 15% compared to a 5% increase in the S&P 500. The global paint giant has benefited from a surge in demand for many of its products, but investors haven't pushed its shares up as much as some industry peers like Home Depot and Lowe's, which are both up by nearly 30% in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a mixed impact on Sherwin-Williams' business, but the gains appear more durable than the losses. Unlike Home Depot or Lowe's, the company closed many of its retailing locations during shelter-in-place orders in March, April, and May. That contributed to a 6% sales decline in the fiscal second quarter.
But Sherwin-Williams saw strong demand from its retailing partners during that time as consumers shifted spending toward home projects. This segment of sales jumped 21% through June.
CEO John Morikis and his team now see sales in 2020 landing at about where they were last year despite the temporary COVID-19 closures. With profitability set to improve, too, there's a lot for investors to like about this business if they're seeking exposure to the home improvement niche.