Home improvement was one of the few categories that boomed during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers spent more time at home. Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) was one of the big winners in the segment, outdoing rival Home Depot (NYSE:HD) with a 30% sales increase and a 35% rise in U.S. comps in the second quarter ended July 31.
Digital played an important role in bolstering the company's revenue, growing 135% in the second quarter and rounding out a strong omnichannel program. Adjusted earnings per share increased to $3.75, which includes $460 million the company paid out to employees due to the pandemic. Lowe's stock has moved accordingly, gaining 37% year to date as of Tuesday morning.
CEO Marvin Ellison said in a conference call that over the past 18 months, the company has been highly focused on executing its "retail fundamental" strategy, which improved the business infrastructure and positioned Lowe's for its huge success. Some of the actions Lowe's took include fully revamping the web site and launching a top-rated mobile app; hiring experts to make quick, efficient decisions; and introducing an enhanced Pro loyalty program.
The company declined to give a future fiscal outlook, but Ellison said in a statement that the momentum is increasing into the third quarter, and that Lowe's is making even greater investments into the company's omnichannel capabilities to offer more advanced options for customers.