What happened

Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) shareholders outpaced a surging market last year. The stock gained 50% in 2020 compared to a 16% rise in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Tractor Supply had been down by nearly 30% during the March dive but shares took off once indexes stabilized and began climbing again.

A tractor clearing snow at a farm.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The rural lifestyle retailer enjoyed solid growth even during the early days of maximum social distancing efforts across most of the United States. Sales in the fiscal first quarter, which runs through late March, rose 4%. Inventors cheered that report, but were even happier to see growth soar over the next few months. Tractor Supply posted a 31% revenue spike in the second quarter as consumers focused more spending on the home. The retailer noted strength across its merchandise portfolio and a solid sales boost from its e-commerce division.

Now what

Investors are expecting additional signs of market share wins when Tractor Supply announces its fourth-quarter results in late January. CEO Hal Lawton and his team in October predicted comps gains of between 15% and 20% for the period, with earnings landing between $1.37 per share and $1.47 per share.

But for Tractor Supply's rally to extend deep into 2021, management will have to issue a bullish outlook for the fiscal year ahead. If the holiday period cemented the retailer's status as the favored store for shoppers seeking home and farm supplies, then investors should see that optimistic forecast in late January.

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