Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. Inc. Monday said its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings would top its earlier forecast as mild weather in many parts of the country in recent weeks spurred higher-than-expected sales.

Lowe's, the world's No. 2 home improvement retailer behind Home Depot Inc., said earnings in the quarter, ended Feb. 1, would exceed previous guidance of 22 cents to 24 cents per share due to above-plan sales and margin growth.

Analysts' consensus earnings estimate is 23 cents per share, with estimates ranging from 22 cents to 25 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Lowe's said fourth-quarter same-store sales -- sales at stores open at least a year -- would grow more than its earlier forecast of 3 percent to 5 percent.

"Better-than-anticipated weather and a resilient consumer, combined with our merchandising and operations focus, have resulted in fourth-quarter comparable-store sales in excess of our previous guidance of 3 to 5 percent," Robert Niblock, chief financial officer, said in a statement.

The retailer will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 25.

Lowe's shares ended on Friday at $45.70 on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the beginning to the year, the stock is up slightly, compared with a 2 percent decline in shares of Home Depot.