U.S. home improvement retailer Lowe's quarterly profit up 20 percent on strong sales

Monday, August 15th 2005, 9:28 am
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) _ Lowe's Cos., the second largest U.S. home improvement retailer, said Monday its second-quarter profit was 20 percent higher than a year ago, surpassing Wall Street's forecast by 3 cents per share.

The results were fueled by gains in installed items, special orders and sales to commercial business customers, the company said.

Lowe's said its quarterly net income grew to $838 million (euro677 million), or $1.05 per share, from $700 million, or 87 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.02 per share on revenue of $11.81 billion.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $11.93 billion (euro9.6 billion) from $10.17 billion last year as sales at stores open at least a year increased 6.5 percent in the quarter that ended July 29.

Shares of Lowe's rose 80 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $65.99 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

``Building on the strong sales trends we experienced in April, our stores delivered solid comparable store sales across all three months of the quarter,'' chief executive, chairman and president Robert Niblock said in a statement.

Lowe's said its earnings per share would be between 76 cents and 78 cents for the third quarter and $3.31 to $3.37 for the year. The consensus estimate of analysts call for earnings of 76 cents per share for the third quarter and $3.29 per share for the year.

Market leader Home Depot Inc., based in Atlanta, reports its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Lowe's opened 27 new stores in the U.S., including one relocation, in the second quarter. The company said it expects to open 150 new stores by the end of 2005, including 34 in the third quarter.

As of last month, Lowe's operated 1,138 stores in the United States.