The Depot delta extends another quarter

Of all the Home Depot metrics that were reported in its second quarter — including double-digit earnings gains — the comparable-store sales metric of positive 2.1% doesn’t jump off the page.

But the figure marks the continuation of an exceptional competitive streak: In each of the last seven quarters, Home Depot’s comps have beat its rival Lowe’s by at least 2 percentage points. This “delta” peaked at 4 percentage points in the second quarter of 2011.

The last time Lowe’s comps outperformed Depot was the first quarter of 2009.

Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock, during his company’s earnings call, described Lowe’s as a company in transition and a company that expects some level of disruption. Initiatives include multichannel seamless, mobile technology, flexible fulfillment and MyLowe’s, the company’s Web tool. “The team is making progress on these initiatives, but frankly, the benefits are accruing at a slower rate than I had expected.”

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