Lowe's maintains annual targets despite missing first-quarter sales estimates

Key Points
  • Lowe's missed analysts' forecasts for quarterly same-store sales.
  • The U.S. home improvement retailer said an uncharacteristically long winter hit demand.
  • On Tuesday, the company said current J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison would be taking over at Lowe's.
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Lowe's missed Wall Street forecasts for quarterly sales on Wednesday as a long winter hit demand for outdoor products, but the home improvement retailer maintained its annual financial targets on expectations that demand will recover.

Many U.S. retailers have said that a late start to the spring selling season has weighed on sales of lawn-mowers, patio furniture, and other seasonal products during the February-April period.

Still, Lowe's Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock said in a statement he was "encouraged by strong sales in the month of May."

Shares of Lowe's, the No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain, rose 3 percent to $88.30 in premarket trading, despite the company's lower-than-expected comparable-store sales for the first quarter.

Sales at Lowe's stores open at least a year rose 0.6 percent in the three months ended May 4, while analysts on average had expected a 3.06 percent increase, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"While certainly a touch disappointing, (Lowe's report) wasn't a big surprise to us. We believe most of the (comparable-store sales) pressure to be more transitory in nature than structural," Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom said.

A Lowe's employee walks through the store during the grand opening of the Lowe's store in San Francisco, California.
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Like Lowe's, its bigger peer Home Depot last week blamed cold weather for missing Wall Street estimates on same-store sales for the first time in seven quarters.

Lowe's maintained its annual forecast for profit and same-store sales, while slightly raising its estimate for sales growth to reflect an accounting change.

The company's net income rose to $988 million or $1.19 per share in the first quarter, while sales rose nearly 3 percent to $17.36 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.22 per share and revenue of $17.46 billion.

On Tuesday, Mooresville-North Carolina-based Lowe's said current J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison would be taking over at Lowe's, replacing Niblock, who held the position for 13 years.