Home Depot, has been in full emergency mode this week, assisting customers in preparing their homes and businesses as Hurricane Florence approached landfall. As of today, the storm has been reduced to a Category 1 hurricane but is forecasted to cause wide-spread flooding in the coastal areas stretching from South Carolina to Virginia.
Preparing for the storm
Home Depot stores in the affected areas received around 2,000 truck shipments of inventory to stock shelves with essential emergency supplies like batteries, generators, and plywood. The company has about 40 stores in the affected region but only closed 13 locations. Also, over 400 employees from surrounding states have volunteered to assist with store operations. Home Depot also has a section of their website dedicated to providing tips on how to prepare, what resources are needed, and how to stay safe during and after a storm.
Home Depot opened a command center in Atlanta, Georgia, staffed by 300 employees to minimize inventory impact to stores. CNBC’s Seema Mody reports live from the Home Depot command center where she speaks to Tad McIntosh, the Divisional Merchandise Manager for Home Depot. McIntosh provides insights into how the retail giant is preparing.
The Financial Impact
Wall Street has been tracking the storm just as much as the weather center and Home Depot stocks are up 3.7% over the past week. So, why are investors jumping onboard with Home Depot?
Business disruptions and storm damages temporarily reduce the profits of companies negatively impacted by the storm, such as insurers and retailers, and often provide a lift to companies such as home improvement retailers that help affected people prepare for the storm and rebuild once the wind dies down and floodwaters recede.
According to Mark Savino, an equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, “The disruption caused by hurricanes in the U.S. has increased in recent years.” The 2017 hurricane season was the costliest in U.S. history, with hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma causing an estimated $270 billion in damage.
2017’s Hurricane Harvey Case Study
In 2017, Intalytics conducted a study on the impacts of another hurricane (Harvey) on the Houston area. Specifically, we examined how the use of Massive Mobile Data can provide insights for brick and mortar businesses looking to understand who was impacted by the storm and where they traveled during the evacuation.