Home Depot casts doubt on further improvement

Home Depot had a blow-out year, but the world’s largest home improvement retailer warned Tuesday that it couldn’t predict if those good times will continue into 2021.

Americans stuck at home had been snapping up tools, paint and building materials to spruce up their homes throughout the health crisis. But the rollout of vaccines and the hopes of a return to normalcy have led many to believe that sales growth in 2021 will fade.

Home Depot’s chief financial officer said the company is – in his words - "not able to predict how consumer spending will evolve." He said if demand in the back half of last year were to continue, comparable sales will be flat to slightly positive in 2021.

Home Depot’s decision to withhold guidance disappointed investors. Shares fell 6% in early trading Tuesday despite a 25% jump in same-store sales as well as net sales in the latest quarter.

Those results, as well as profit, beat analyst estimates. For the year, Home Depot grew its bottom line by 14%.