Isolated Americans spend at home; Home Depot is there for it

FILE - In this April 3, 2020 file photo, a Home Depot customer pushes a cart loaded with supplies in New York. Home Depot is buying HD Supply Co.,  a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products in the multifamily and hospitality end markets, in a deal valued at about $8 billion. The transaction is expected to close during Home Depot's fiscal fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - In this April 3, 2020 file photo, a Home Depot customer pushes a cart loaded with supplies in New York. Home Depot is buying HD Supply Co., a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products in the multifamily and hospitality end markets, in a deal valued at about $8 billion. The transaction is expected to close during Home Depot's fiscal fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

As the year comes to a close Americans are still stuck at home and that has led to an explosive year for Home Depot. The most recent quarter is no exception.

Third-quarter sales surged 23% and the home improvement chain beat expectations by almost any measure.

Revenue totaled $33.54 billion for the three months ended Nov. 1, topping the $31.83 billion that analysts polled by FactSet predicted.

“We saw the continuation of outsized demand for home improvement projects, which has led to sales growth of more than $15 billion through the first nine months of the year,” Chairman and CEO Craig Menear, said in a prepared statement.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, climbed a stunning 24.1%, topping even the lofty projections for a 17.2% increase on Wall Street. In the U.S., where the coronavirus has run unchecked and kept millions at home, those sales jumped 24.6%.

While home owners have been hunkering down, home sales have been among the bright spots economically during the pandemic. Whether buying a new home, or improving an existing one, home owners continue to head to Home Depot at a healthy pace.

U.S. home construction rose a solid 1.9% in September and applications for building permits, a good barometer of future activity, rose an even stronger 5.2%.

The pandemic has led to a vast shift in spending patterns. At least some of the money once spent on movie tickets, travel, restaurants, amusement parks, sporting events or concerts, is coming back home. While those industries have been devastated, the housing market, and Home Depot, have grown stronger.