News Column

Lowe's profits rise despite spring chill

May 21, 2014

By Ely Portillo, The Charlotte Observer

May 21--Mooresville-based Lowe's, Inc. said Wednesday that sales and profits were up during its first quarter, even though an unusually long winter depressed sales of outdoor goods during the popular spring season.

The company's results fell slightly short of analysts' predictions. But Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock said the company's results improved in May, and he has confidence for the rest of the year.

"We executed well during the quarter, despite an unexpectedly prolonged winter in many areas of the country," said Niblock, in a statement. "While poor weather dampened traffic and negatively impacted performance of exterior categories, results for indoor categories were solid."

Lowe's profits rose 16 percent from the same quarter a year ago, to $624 million. Sales were up 2.4 percent, to $13.4 billion.

Sales at Lowe's stores open for a year or more -- considered a key measure of a retailer's health -- rose 0.9 percent. That lagged Home Depot, Lowe's biggest rival, which said its first quarter comparable store sales were up 2.6 percent during the quarter.

Lowe's operates 1,836 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company plans to open 15 more stores this year.

The spring season is typically the most important for Lowe's and other home improvement retailers, the equivalent of the winter holiday season at other stores.

Home Depot reported Tuesday that its profits rose 16 percent, to $1.4 billion, for the first quarter. Sales were up 2.9 percent, to $19.7 billion in the quarter.

The company's results fell slightly short of analysts' expectations. Home Depot CEO Frank Blake blamed bad weather and said there had been a "slow start to the spring selling season."


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Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)

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