News Column

Profits rise at Lowe's, but outlook down

August 20, 2014

By Ely Portillo, The Charlotte Observer

Aug. 20--Mooresville-based home improvement retailer Lowe's, Inc. said Wednesday that its second quarter sales and profits rose as weather, housing and the job market improved, but the company lowered its forecast slightly for the rest of the year.

Lowe's profits jumped 10.4 percent for the three months ending August 1, to $1 billion. Sales were up 5.7 percent compared to the same quarter last year, to $16.6 billion. Sales at stores open a year or more, considered a key measure of a retailer's health, rose 4.4 percent.

"We were able to recover most of the outdoor product sales missed in the first quarter due to unfavorable weather conditions," said CEO Robert Niblock. "Our year-to-date sales performance, together with our previous assumptions for the second half of 2014, result in a modest reduction to our sales outlook for the year."

Lowe's lowered its forecast for sales growth to 4.5 percent, down from its earlier projection of 5 percent. The company kept its profit projections the same.

Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement retailer, reported Tuesday that its second quarter profits jumped 14 percent. The Atlanta-based company also raised its profit forecast.

Analyst Wayne Hood, of BMO Capital Markets, called Lowe's results "a good quarter" in a note to investors. But he said the company wasn't able to make up as much ground as Home Depot, and said investors would be disappointed.

"Unfortunately, the market does not look at the company in isolation and compares the company's results to Home Depot," wrote Hood.

Lowe's stock was down more than 3 percent in pre-market trading Wednesday.


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Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)

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