Home Depot spent $850 million on its expanded worker benefits during the quarter, including the expansion of paid time off for all its hourly workers, additional time off for senior citizen employees and those deemed to have higher health risks, and bonuses and higher overtime pay.
Home Depot did post strong sales growth before the outbreak, however. The company said that total revenue rose 7.1% from a year ago to $28.3 billion. That topped expectations. Sales at stores open at least a year were up 6.4% overall and 7.5% in the United States.
But CEO Craig Menear said sales in some locations were hit by social distancing guidelines that company put into place towards the end of the quarter.
"We took early and decisive action to intentionally limit customer traffic in our stores which we believe had a significant impact to sales in many markets," said Menear in a statement.
"I want to thank our associates and express how grateful and proud I am of the resilience and strength that our teams have demonstrated as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances together," Menear added.
Home Depot could benefit if more consumers, many of whom are now working from home, decide to do more improvement projects.
Demand for newly constructed homes is down too. Property condition database BuildFax said in a report this week that authorizations for new single-family houses fell nearly 7.5% from March to April.
The US Census Bureau will report April figures for housing starts and building permits later Tuesday morning. Both figures are expected to plunge more than 20% from March.