Home Depot to Speed up Deliveries

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) customers have been known for having little patience for long waits and shipping delays.

The home improvement retailer announced Tuesday it will open three distribution centers in the Atlanta area over the next 18 months to keep up with those expectations, which have only been amplified since the pandemic.

Company officials said the pandemic has underscored the importance of a strong and flexible supply chain. During the spread of the coronavirus, customers have gravitated even more to online shopping.

Home Depot has raced to meet customers’ demand for speed and convenience. It began rolling out curbside pickup in late March, and the service is now available at most stores. Before late March, customers had to go inside to pick up online purchases.

Home Depot online sales grew by about 80% year over year in the first quarter, which ended May 3. About $4.2 billion — or roughly 15% — of its net sales came from online. More than 60% of the time, customers picked up those online orders at a store.

Its online sales were already accelerating before the pandemic. Starting in 2018, Home Depot kicked off a $1.2 billion investment to open about 150 supply-chain facilities over five years. It is building different kinds of distribution centers to handle its wide range of products, from small drill bits to bulky items like pallets of lumber, and serve its mix of do-it-yourself and home professional customers.

Home Depot wants to offer same-day and next-day delivery to 90% of the U.S. population.

At the company’s analyst conference in December, it said about 50% of the U.S. population had one-day delivery options.

Shares tumbled first thing Tuesday by 81 cents to $265.37.