With this quarter’s retail earnings season finally coming to a close, it’s clear who the winners and losers are. Department stores, apparel, and electronics are suffering, while home improvement is shining.

There’s no better example of this growing bifurcation than Home Depot (NYSE:HD) — the retailer has thrived in the last five years as the housing market has bounced back. But macroeconomics aren’t the only thing fueling its success. Savvy management and smart strategic decisions have helped the chain consistently outperform rival Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) over the past five years.


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