Lowe's earnings beat, but shares fall as retailer cuts forecast and plans to exit some businesses

Key Points
  • Lowe's reports third-quarter earnings that beat estimates.
  • Net income of $629 million, or 78 cents per share, was down from $872 million, or $1.05 per share, a year earlier.
  • Same-store sales were softer than what Wall Street had anticipated and the company lowered its full-year estimates.
Lowe's has a lot of blocking and tackling to do, says Oppenheimer's Nagel

Lowe's on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations, though same-store sales were softer than what Wall Street had anticipated and the company lowered its full-year estimates.

Shares of the home improvement retailer dropped nearly 3 percent.

Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $1.04 adjusted, vs. 98 cents expected
  • Revenue: $17.42 billion vs. $17.36 billion expected

Lowe's reported third-quarter net income of $629 million, or 78 cents per share, down from $872 million, or $1.05 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding certain items, including pretax charges of $280 million, Lowe's earned $1.04 per share, above the 98 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Net sales rose 3.8 percent to $17.42 billion, above expectations of $17.36 billion.

Same-store sales rose 1.5 percent, below analysts' expectations of 2.9 percent. CEO Marvin Ellison said "continued challenges" with inventory out of stocks, "poor reset execution" and assortment concerns in certain categories pressured the company's ability to turn visits into transactions.

The company lowered its full-year sales forecast to about 4 percent, down from its prior estimate of about 4.5 percent. It now expects same-store sales to rise 2.5 percent, compared with a previous estimate of a 3 percent gain.

Lowe's anticipates full-year adjusted earnings of $5.08 to $5.13 per share.

Ellison started at Lowe's in July. Last quarter, the former J.C. Penney CEO outlined his plan to turn around the home improvement retailer, including to "aggressively rationalize store inventory."

Lowe's plans to end its Mexico retail operations and is exploring strategic alternatives for the business, the company announced Tuesday. It also plans to exit Alacrity Renovation Services and Iris Smart Home.

Lowe's has already announced it will shutter its 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores by year-end and close 20 Lowe's stores in the U.S. and 31 in Canada. As of Nov. 2, Lowe's operated 2,133 home improvement and hardware stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

"Our transformation will take time, but we have assembled an experienced team and developed a comprehensive plan to make steady progress," Ellison said in a statement.

Lowe's struggles come while its rival, Home Depot, is thriving. The company beat analysts' third-quarter earnings expectations and raised its full-year sales forecast, citing strong demand in the home improvement market.

"In isolation, Lowe's third-quarter results look reasonable: both total and comparable sales are growing, and the US business is seeing a fair uplift in same-store sales," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said in an email. "However, when set against the wider context of the market and against rival Home Depot, Lowe's growth is pretty weak."

-CNBC's Lauren Thomas and Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report