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How Big-Box Retailers Performed in Q1 2023

For the first quarter of 2023, several big-box retailers experienced continued increases in sales compared to Q4 2022, with others reporting decreases in sales because of unseasonable weather affecting consumer purchases during the quarter.

The Home Depot

The Home Depot reported sales of $37.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, a decrease of 4.2% from the first quarter of fiscal 2022. Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2023 decreased 4.5%, and comparable sales in the U.S. decreased 4.6%.

Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2023 were $3.9 billion, or $3.82 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $4.2 billion, or $4.09 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2022.

“After a three-year period of unprecedented growth for our sector, during which we grew sales by over $47 billion, we expected that fiscal 2023 would be a year of moderation for the home improvement market. Our sales for the quarter were below our expectations primarily driven by lumber deflation and unfavorable weather, particularly in our Western division as extreme weather in California disproportionately impacted our results,” says Ted Decker, chair, president and CEO.

“We also observed more broad-based pressure across the business compared to when we reported fourth-quarter results a few months ago. Despite a more challenging environment, our associates maintained their relentless focus on our customers, and I would like to thank them and our many partners for their hard work and dedication. While the near-term environment is uncertain, we remain very positive on the medium-to-long term outlook for home improvement and our ability to grow share in a large and fragmented market,” Decker says.


Lowe’s Co. reported net earnings of $2.3 billion and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.77 for the first quarter of 2023, compared to diluted EPS of $3.51 in the first quarter of 2022. During the first quarter, the company recognized a gain associated with the 2022 sale of the Canadian retail business, which positively impacted first quarter diluted EPS by $0.10.

Total sales for the quarter were $22.3 billion. Comparable sales decreased 4.3%, driven by lumber deflation, unfavorable weather and lower DIY discretionary sales.

“We are pleased with the performance of our business despite record lumber deflation and unfavorable spring weather. Although we delivered positive comparable sales in Pro and online for the first quarter, we are updating our full-year outlook to reflect softer-than-expected consumer demand for discretionary purchases,” says Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “We remain optimistic about the medium-to-long term outlook for home improvement and our ability to continue to grow market share through our Total Home strategy. I would like to thank all of our front-line associates for their continued hard work and dedication.”


For Q1 2023, Target sales grew 0.5%, reflecting flat comparable sales combined with the benefit of sales from new locations. Traffic in stores grew 0.9%, on top of 3.9% in Q1 2022, and comparable stores sales grew 0.7%, offset by a decline in comparable digital sales.

The company reported first quarter GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $2.05, down 4.8% from $2.16 in 2022.

“We came into the year clear-eyed about the challenges consumers are facing, and we were determined to build on the trust we’ve established with our guests. It’s required agility and the ability to flex across our multi-category portfolio as we lean into value and the product categories our guests need most right now,” says Brian Cornell, chair and CEO of Target. “Thanks to the team’s dedication, we saw an increase in guest traffic in Q1, with total sales increasing and profitability ahead of expectations. As we look ahead, we now expect shrink will reduce this year’s profitability by more than $500 million compared with last year. While there are many potential sources of inventory shrink, theft and organized retail crime are increasingly important drivers of the issue. We are making significant investments in strategies to prevent this from happening in our stores and protect our guests and our team. We’re also focused on managing the financial impact on our business so we can continue to keep our stores open, knowing they create local jobs and offer convenient access to essentials.

For the full year, we are maintaining our full-year financial guidance, based on the expected benefit from efficiency and cost-savings efforts and our team’s continued focus on agility, flexibility and retail fundamentals in the face of continued challenges including inventory shrink. At the same time, we will continue making long-term investments in our stores, supply chain and our team, positioning Target for profitable growth and market-share gains in the years ahead.”

Tractor Supply Co.

Tractor Supply Co. reported for Q1 2023 that net sales increased 9.1% to $3.3 billion, up from $3.02 billion in the first quarter of 2022. The increase in net sales was driven by positive sales contributions from the acquisition of Orscheln Farm and Home, new store openings and growth in comparable store sales. Comparable store sales increased 2.1%, as compared to an increase of 5.2% in the prior year’s first quarter, driven by comparable average ticket growth of 2.8% and a comparable average transaction count decrease of 0.7%.

Gross profit increased 10.7% to $1.17 billion from $1.06 billion in the prior year’s first quarter, and gross margin increased 52 basis points to 35.5% from 34.9% in the prior year’s first quarter.

“While our first quarter net sales growth exceeded 9%, our comparable store sales were below our expectations, primarily due to less favorable spring weather trends. We remain confident in our outlook given our continued share gains, the results of our year-round product categories and the scaling of our strategic investments,” says said Hal Lawton, president and chief executive officer of Tractor Supply. “We saw materially softer demand in our seasonal products due to a delay in the spring selling season across most of our markets, notably in the last few weeks of March, and to a lesser extent a mild January. We believe that our customer remains healthy, as evidenced by positive comparable transactions in our last two months, and that we continue to gain market share. As spring has arrived across our markets, we are pleased with the improved sales trends we are seeing. With the majority of the year ahead of us and given our track record of nimbly managing the business, we are confirming our financial outlook for fiscal 2023.

Tractor Supply’s needs-based, demand-driven business model has stood the test of time with consistent and sustainable growth. We remain excited about our growth opportunities as we continue to widen our competitive advantages as the team is making great progress on our Life Out Here strategy. My appreciation goes out to the more than 52,000 team members for their commitment to each other and our customers.”


Walmart Inc. first quarter results included strong revenue and operating income growth of 7.6% and 17.3%, respectively. Operating expense leverage, along with progress from the company’s connected value streams, including advertising, helped deliver operating margin expansion. The company sees strong comp sales globally, including 7.4% for Walmart U.S., as its omnichannel model continues to resonate with customers and members.

Consolidated revenues were up $152.3 billion, up 7.6%, or 7.7% in constant currency, and e-commerce was up 27%, led by pickup & delivery.

“We had a strong quarter. Comp sales were strong globally with e-commerce up 26%,” says Doug McMillon president and CEO, Walmart. “We leveraged expenses, expanded operating margin and grew profit ahead of sales. And a big thank you to our associates, who continue to step up and deliver for customers and members whenever and however they want to be served.”


PPG reported record net sales of about $4.4 billion and organic sales of more than 5% over 2022. The reported earnings per diluted share (EPS) was $1.11 and the adjusted EPS was $1.82. They had an accelerated margin recovery; operating margins were up 380 basis points year over year. PPG reports that supply disruptions moderating and manufacturing operations are improving and they are operating cash flow improvement of about $400 million year over year. For the Q1 year 2023, net sales from continuing operations were approximately $4.4 million, up 2% over Q1 2022. Net income in Q1 2023 increased by 1,367% over Q1 2022.

“As we communicated earlier this month, the pace of our operating margin recovery accelerated during the quarter, which drove a 33% year-over-year increase in adjusted EPS. Our improving results are despite macroeconomic conditions that remain challenging and reflect the strengths of our diverse business portfolio and progress we are making on restoring margins in line with our historical profile,” says Tim Knavish, PPG president and chief executive officer.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate the macro environment will generally remain consistent with the first quarter, with continued stabilization of economic activity (at lower absolute levels) in Europe and modestly improving demand in China. In the U.S., we expect sequential slowing in economic activity in certain end-use markets, particularly those that are construction-related. Supply chain disruptions are abating, and we are already experiencing and expect further increases in commodity raw material availability. We remain highly focused on partnering with our customers and delivering superior service and products with a focus on enhancing their productivity and sustainability. Finally, along with additional organic growth, we are executing and delivering on our previously announced restructuring actions and acquisition-related synergies, which collectively will drive additional margin recovery momentum and related operating cash flow.

“Lastly, I want to thank our global employees for their unwavering dedication and focus on living our purpose—we protect and beautify the world—by making it happen and helping to deliver these strong first-quarter financial results.”


Sherwin-Williams announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2023. Consolidated net sales for Sherwin-Willams 2023 Q1 increased 8.9% to $5.44 billion and net sales from stores in the U.S. and Canada open more than twelve calendar months increased 14.2%. Diluted net income per share increased 30.5%, moving from $1.41 per share in the first quarter 2022 to $1.84 per share in Q1 2023. Adjusted diluted net income per share increased 26.7% to $2.04 per share from $1.61 per share in the first quarter 2022. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) increased 26.7% to $878.2 million.

Additionally, Sherwin-Williams changed its organizational structure to manage and report the Latin America architectural paint business within the Consumer Brands Group to more closely align demand and service model trends with its current business strategy. The Latin America business was formerly part of The Americas Group, which has become the Paint Stores Group concurrent with this change.

“We delivered strong results in the first quarter with higher than expected consolidated net sales, sequential and year-over-year expansion in gross margin and double-digit percentage growth in diluted net income per share and EBITDA,” says chairman and chief executive officer, John G. Morikis. “Segment margin expanded sequentially and year-over-year in all three of our reportable segments. We also continued to invest in growth initiatives across the business during the quarter while returning cash to our shareholders through an increase in our quarterly dividend and an investment of $301.7 million to repurchase 1.3 million shares.”

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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