Professional clients help online sales rise 23% along with 4.9% total sales growth, the company reports.

Contractors and builders helped The Home Depot Inc. lift online and overall sales growth in the first quarter, CEO and president Craig Menear said on the company’s earnings call with analysts.

“Pro sales once again outpaced DIY (do-it-yourself) sales in the quarter,” Menear told analysts on last week’s call. “We recognize that Pro customers have needs that go beyond our traditional in-store offerings, and we believe that the work we are doing to strengthen our sales support, assortment and fulfillment for this customer base continues to resonate.”

The company didn’t break out Q1 online sales from professional, what it calls Pro, customers, but executives noted on the year-end earnings call in February that Pro customers account for about 45% of total sales. Based on that rate, sales to professionals accounted for $10.75 billion in the quarter.

Home Depot reported online sales accounted for 5.9% of $94.60 billion in total sales in fiscal 2016. That rate applied to total Q1 revenue yields online sales of $1.41 billion.

Pro customer sales grew twice as fast in the quarter as DIY customer sales, CFO Carol Tomé told investors.

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Home Depot continues to incorporate the catalog and websites it picked up when it acquired Interline, a national distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products, in 2015 for $1.63 billion. Interline operates eight specialized B2B websites including SupplyWorks.com, a supplier of facility maintenance products; Wilmar.com and e-Musa.com, serving multi-family housing facilities; and e-Barnett.com and e-HardwareExpress.com, for contractors serving residential customers.

Interline accounted for less than 2% of Q1 sales, Tomé said.

Sales at stores open for more than a year, a key benchmark for investors, rose 5.5%. That beat analysts’ 3.9% prediction, according to Consensus Metrix, an earnings estimating firm. In the U.S., revenue by this measure rose 6%.

Home Depot, the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, is profiting from the rebound in housing prices, which has made property owners more willing to revamp their properties because they see them as a sound investment.

For fiscal Q1 ended April 30, Home Depot, No. 87 in the 2017 B2B E-Commerce 300, reported:

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  • Total sales of $23.887 billion, a 4.9% increase compared with $22.762 billion in Q1 of the prior year.
  • Net earnings of $2.01 billion, up 11.7% from $1.80 billion.

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