Lowe's Profit Up 31%, but Misses Estimates

Lowe's Cos. Inc. (LOW), the No. 2 home improvement retailer behind Home Depot Inc. (HD), on Monday reported a 31 percent rise in first-quarter profit but missed Wall Street estimates as unfavorable weather hurt sales.

The Mooresville, N.C., retailer said first-quarter earnings rose to $590 million, or 74 cents a share, from $452 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected 76 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Total sales rose 14 percent to $9.91 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year increased 3.8 percent. In February, Lowe's (search) had forecast same-store sales would rise 5 percent to 6 percent in the quarter.

Lowe's, which is expanding to big U.S. cities such as New York, said unusually cold, wet March weather in many parts of the country "created challenges." Positive comparable-store sales in February and April were offset by negative sales in March, it added.

Analysts had warned that unfavorable weather could hurt results at Lowe's and Home Depot (search), which reports earnings on Tuesday.

Lowe's said it expects profit of $1 to $1.02 a share for the second quarter and $3.25 to $3.34 for the year. Analysts currently expect per-share profit of $1.02 for the second quarter and $3.31 for the year, according to Reuters Estimates.