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A man loads garage door trims into his pickup truck outside a Home Depot in Hialeah, Florida.
AP Photo/Alan Diaz
Keeping retail’s storm clouds at bay.

Home Depot is the exception that proves the rule of the US retail slowdown

Home Depot reported earnings this morning, and they were actually pretty good. The company posted $1.7 billion in profits on $21.9 billion in revenue, and both figures beat expectations. Unlike some of its department store counterparts, the hardware chain seems to have kept its year-end guidance intact. The company’s shares fell about 3% in early trading.

When the Census Bureau released its latest estimate of retail sales last week, “building supplies” was one of the few areas to show increased year-over-year growth.

The United States is in the midst of a housing boom. On an earnings call, Home Depot executives noted that purchases above $900 made up 20% of the company’s sales in the quarter and had increased 7.8% from a year earlier, which was faster than purchases below $50, which make the same portion and increased only 3.6%.

Just because retailers like Home Depot have had a good quarter doesn’t mean that there aren’t serious problems facing the retail sector—but it’s a welcome sign of life in the US economy.

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