Coming out of the 2008-09 financial crisis, The Home Depot (HD, -0.53%) took a brutal beating.
As customers’ home values were underwater, they pulled back on home improvements, sending Home Depot’s sales plunging. But rather than panic, the retailer invested in its e-commerce, improving stores (without opening new ones) and worker training. The strategy served the company well: comparable sales at its U.S. stores have been better than those of rival Lowe’s (LOW, -0.39%) in nearly each quarter since then, and have been above the 6% of five years running, a pace unmatched by virtually no major retailer of similar size, other than perhaps Costco Wholesale.
Now, eight years into an economic expansion, Home Depot is looking to make similar moves in anticipation of an eventual slowdown sometime down the line. At its investor day on Wednesday, Home Depot said it would roughly double the investment spending in the next three fiscal years to some $11.1 billion.