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Path to Home Depot becomes familiar for millions in pandemic

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, the Home Depot logo is shown on a store in Bloomington, Minn. Home Depots fiscal second-quarter sales surged to easily top Wall Streets expectations as consumers continued working on home projects and gardening amid the coronavirus outbreak.  (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, the Home Depot logo is shown on a store in Bloomington, Minn. Home Depots fiscal second-quarter sales surged to easily top Wall Streets expectations as consumers continued working on home projects and gardening amid the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Millions of people forced to work out of the office during the pandemic took on new projects at home and Home Depot is supplying a lot of the DIY material they need.

At Home Depot stores open at least a year, sales surged an remarkable 25% in the U.S. during the second quarter, the Atlanta company reported Tuesday.

Overall revenue hit $38.05 billion, far exceeding the $34.94 billion Wall Street was expecting, according to a Zacks Investment Research survey. The company easily topped last year's revenue of $30.84 billion for the three months ended Aug. 2.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer's health, climbed 23.4%, globally, trailing only the massive surge in comparable-store sales in the U.S. The overall comparable-store sales were almost twice the 12.2% increase that industry analysts had projected.

People have taken on DIY projects at a frenzied pace after being forced out of the office and after a pandemic-induced lull, demand for new houses is ramping up fast.

On Tuesday the Commerce Department reported that construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month. The department said that new homes were started at an annual pace of nearly 1.5 million in July, the highest since February and well above what economists were expecting.

The National Association of Realtors said last month that its index of pending sales rose 16.6%, to 116.1 in June, its highest level since 2006.

Home Depot Inc. earned $4.33 billion, or $4.02 per share, in the quarter, which was also far stronger than the per-share projections of $3.70 from analysts.

A year earlier it earned $3.48 billion, or $3.17 per share.

The company also declared a second-quarter dividend of $1.50 per share. The dividend is payable on Sept. 17 to shareholders of record on Sept. 3.