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Lowe’s 1Q Falls Flat as Extended Winter Cuts Into Sales

Lowe’s 1Q Falls Flat as Extended Winter Cuts Into Sales

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe’s, which named a new CEO this week, is reporting weak profit and revenue numbers for its first quarter in which harsh winter weather cut into the traditional spring sales season.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, company earned $988 million, or $1.19 per share, for the three months ended May 4. A year earlier the home improvement retailer earned $602 million, or 70 cents per share.

That’s 3 cents shy of Wall Street expectations, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose to $17.36 billion from $16.86 billion, but also missed the mark.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, edged up 0.6 percent. In the U.S., the figure climbed 0.5 percent.

Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock cited the harsh weather, echoing the travails of rival Home Depot, which recently reported a slow start to the year.

Niblock, who previously announced plans to retire, will be succeeded in the CEO post by J.C. Penney Co. CEO Marvin Ellison. Ellison, who is also a former Home Depot Inc. executive, will take over as Lowe’s CEO in early July.

Lowe’s is looking for ways to compete with Home Depot Inc., which has been better able to capitalize on the solid housing market.

For fiscal 2018, Lowe’s now anticipates revenue will increase about 5 percent. Its prior guidance was for a 4 percent rise. It still expects full-year earnings to be $5.40 to $5.50 per share.

Shares of Lowe’s Cos., which have fallen 8 percent this year, are down more than 3 percent before the opening bell Wednesday.

In regards to the Pro customer outlook, Niblock stated: “We’re pleased with our sales growth with Pro customers as we leverage the strong foundation we’ve built to drive comps above the company average. We continue to make investments to deepen our relationships and make it simpler for Pros to do business with us including the expansion of our Pro services team. And we continue to see strong customer response in the investments we’ve made to enhance our online shopping, experience which is reflected in our 20% online comp growth this quarter.”

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