Lowe's 1Q results rise, but miss expectations

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The home improvement retailer Lowe's fiscal first-quarter net income climbed 16 percent, bolstered in part by a lower tax rate.

But its adjusted profit and revenue missed analysts' estimates as bad weather kept customers from stores. Nonetheless, the company raised its full-year earnings forecast on Wednesday.

Chairman, President and CEO Robert Niblock said in a statement that poor weather lowered traffic and hurt the sales of products in its exterior categories — like patio and gardening goods — but that results for indoor categories — such as plumbing parts and indoor paints — were solid.

Niblock said that results have gotten better in May.

Spring is the most important season for home improvement retailers as Americans start spending more on outdoor projects. Much like Lowe's, rival Home Depot Inc.'s first-quarter results reported Tuesday missed expectations due to unfavorable weather.

Lowe's shares rose 18 cents to $45.70 in premarket trading about two hours ahead of the market open.

For the three months ended May 2, Lowe's Cos. earned $624 million, or 61 cents per share. A year ago the Mooresville, North Carolina, company earned $540 million, or 49 cents per share.

The lower tax rate added 4 cents per share to the latest quarter's earnings, while asset impairment charges reduced earnings by 1 cent.

Excluding these items, earnings were 58 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet forecast earnings of 60 cents per share.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $13.4 billion from $13.09 billion, but still fell short of Wall Street's prediction of $13.89 billion.

Going forward, Lowe's now sees fiscal 2014 earnings of about $2.63 per share. Its prior guidance was for earnings of about $2.60 per share. Revenue is still expected to rise by approximately 5 percent. Based on fiscal 2013's revenue of $53.42 billion, that implies about $56.1 billion.

Analysts expect full-year earnings of $2.62 per share on revenue of $56.03 billion.