Lowe’s Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates on Housing Rebound

Lowe’s Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, posted second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its forecast for the year as the housing recovery fuels spending on remodeling.

Net income in the quarter ended Aug. 2 increased 26 percent to $941 million, or 88 cents a share, from $747 million, or 64 cents, a year earlier, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based retailer said today in a statement. Analysts projected 79 cents, the average of 25 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock added employees during Lowe’s busiest store hours to help shoppers, reduced the number of slow-selling items and negotiated lower prices with vendors after growth trailed larger Home Depot Inc. Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 9.6 percent, spurred by more transactions and higher spending.

“Lowe’s is making steady progress with its turnaround,” Christopher Horvers, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, wrote in a note Aug. 8. He upgraded the shares to overweight, the equivalent of a buy rating.

Rising home prices are boosting demand for appliances and other big-ticket items that consumers were reluctant to buy in the housing downturn, Niblock told analysts on a conference call. He said higher interest rates may temper the pace of home renovation spending in the second half of the year.

Orchard Acquisition

Lowe’s acquisition of 72 Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. stores will boost sales in California, Niblock said. The company said yesterday it expects to complete its $205 million purchase by the end of August after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the asset sale.

Profit in the year ending Jan. 31 will be about $2.10 a share, Lowe’s said. That’s up from a previous estimate of $2.05 and matches analysts’ average projection.

Lowe’s climbed 3.9 percent to $45.81 at the close in New York. The shares have advanced 29 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent gain by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Home Depot has advanced 19 percent in 2013.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $15.7 billion in the second quarter. Analysts estimated $15.1 billion, on average. Sales at stores open at least 12 months rose 9.6 percent, the largest gain since the first quarter of 2004.

Revenue this year will rise 5 percent, more than a previous forecast for a 4 percent gain, Lowe’s said today. Same-store sales will increase 4.5 percent, compared with an earlier projection of a 3.5 percent increase, the company said.

Home Depot, based in Atlanta, yesterday reported second-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates and raised its annual forecast, helped by consumers and contractors spending more on projects. The largest U.S. home-improvement chain also has increased the number of suppliers shipping through its distribution centers, helping replenish stores more quickly. It has devoted more space to seasonal items while assigning employees to spend more time with customers and less time on tasks such as stocking shelves.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.