February 27, 2012 / 11:27 AM / 6 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-Like Home Depot, Lowe's gains from warm winter

* Q4 EPS ex-items 29 cents vs. Wall St view 24 cents

* Sales up 11 pct at $11.63 bln, topping estimates

* Sees fiscal 2013 EPS $1.75 to $1.85

* Shares up 2.7 percent premarket

By Dhanya Skariachan

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Lowe’s Cos, the world’s second-largest home improvement chain, reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales as a warm winter prompted many homeowners to take up renovation projects that they normally save for the spring.

The results echoed those from larger rival Home Depot Inc , which also reported stellar sales due to strong demand for everything from paint to concrete in the unseasonably warm quarter.

Monday’s results boosted Lowe’s shares 2.7 percent to $27.90 and excited some industry watchers over the prospects of the home-improvement segment once the housing market recovers.

“We encourage investors to look past the near term and think about double-digit margins for all when housing recovers,” said Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter, who has an “outperform” rating on both chains.

Lowe’s is also benefiting from a host of initiatives to win shoppers, including a recent move to shift away from promotions to more every-day low prices.

The retailer has also started offering more localized products, improved its website and tried to enhance the in-store experience by using better signage and technology in stores.

“This also shows a company making progress in its transition,” said Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser, who has a “buy” rating on the stock.

The company’s sales rose 11 percent to $11.63 billion in the fourth quarter that ended on Feb. 3, well ahead of the analysts’ average estimate of $11.34 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3.4 percent.

Net income rose to $322 million, or 26 cents a share, from $285 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the profit was 29 cents a share, beating the analysts’ average estimate of 24 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the current fiscal year, Lowe’s forecast earnings of $1.75 to $1.85 a share.

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