Lowe's May sales improve, severe winter hits first-quarter results

Wed May 21, 2014 11:27am EDT
 
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By Maria Ajit Thomas

(Reuters) - Lowe's Cos Inc LOW.N, the world's No.2 home improvement chain, said sales picked up in May, after a severe winter in the United States hurt its quarterly results.

The company also maintained its sales growth forecast of 5 percent for the year ending January 30.

Lowe's sales rose 2.4 percent in the first quarter ended May 2, as strong demand for indoor products such as lightbulbs and faucets more than offset the impact of weakness in outdoor categories, including lumber, building materials and paint.

Chief Executive Robert Niblock told Reuters that the company was witnessing a pickup in sale of outdoor power equipment, exterior paint and other weather-dependent categories.

"We do believe that we will recoup the majority of those (lost) sales in the second quarter," Niblock said.

Spring is an important season for home improvement retailers as building renovations pick up and households prepare their gardens.

Bigger rival Home Depot Inc (HD.N: Quote) said on Tuesday that its May sales were "robust" and it expected to realize in the current quarter most of the sales lost in the first quarter.

"Similar to Home Depot ... Lowe's guidance implies the difficult winter weather in (the first quarter) delayed spring seasonal sales rather than eliminated them," Canaccord Genuity analyst Laura Champine wrote in a note.   Continued...

 
A view of the sign outside the Lowes store in Westminster, Colorado February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking