Gap Between Home Improvement Titans to Narrow: Pro

Home Depot's same-store sales growth has outpaced that of its similar rival Lowe's for the past 14 quarters, a gap that one analyst told CNBC is beginning to narrow.

As part of an ongoing makeover, Lowe's has closed locations, cut jobs, streamlined its supply chain and invested in stores. The company has also equipped employees with Apple iPhones that allow shoppers to research and check other stores' prices and launched, a site that allows customers to set up shopping reminders for recurring items.

"I think that effort is beginning to bear fruit for them," said Brian Nagel, a senior equity analyst at Oppenheimer. "You're going to see that comp-gap narrow, I think, over the next few quarters or so."

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Investors will have to wait until Tuesday when Home Depot reports quarterly earnings to see whether the gap does indeed narrow.

On Monday, Lowe's topped Wall Street's earnings and revenue estimates and reported a 1.9 percent increase in same-store sales during the quarter. It also forecast same-store sales growth would accelerate to 3.5 percent in the current fiscal year.

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"You're seeing now — this is the second quarter we've seen sales start to pick up at a pretty decent pace and if you look at the initial guidance that they gave for 2013 that assumes sales are going to continue to improve here," Nagel told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"

Lowe's quarterly report follows an acknowledgment by discount retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores that sales at the beginning of February had started off slower than planned due to a delay in the income tax refund. The expiration of a two-percent cut in payroll taxes and rising gas prices are also impacting consumers' wallets.

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Nagel said it's difficult to make a broad-based comment on the American consumer right now. But on the home-improvement retail front, lower mortgage rates along with improvements in confidence and the housing market are helping to bolster spending, he added.

"My overall view is the combination of a strengthening housing market, strong equity markets, improving jobs growth are going to offset — more than offset — any type of higher taxes on consumer spending," he said.

—By's Katie Little; Follow on Twitter @Katie_Little_

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Brian Nagel does not own Lowe's stock.