Lowe's expects pickup in home improvement spending
By Sruthi Ramakrishnan
(Reuters) - Lowe's Cos Inc LOW.N, the No. 2 U.S. home improvement products retailer, echoed larger rival Home Depot Inc HD.N in anticipating higher spending on renovations in the second half of the year as the U.S. housing market showed signs of a recovery.
Lowe's said it expects higher demand for products such as electronic appliances, fashion fixtures and flooring as people spruce up their homes ahead of the holidays.
"Consumers are indicating stronger intentions to complete a home-improvement project, with most of them planning a specific project in the next three months," Lowe's Chief Executive Robert Niblock said on a conference call with analysts.
Home Depot on Tuesday maintained its full-year sales growth forecast of about 4.8 percent, but said it expected same-store sales to grow faster in the second half as customers renovate homes with big-ticket purchases.
U.S. housing starts rebounded strongly in July, Commerce Department data showed on Tuesday, signaling that the housing market is regaining its footing after being hurt by last year's run-up in interest rates.
Lowe's, however, on Wednesday cut its sales growth forecast to about 4.5 percent from about 5 percent for the year ending January, unable to make up for the sales missed during the prolonged North American winter.
"... First and second quarter together, we are still slightly short of where we'd anticipated being this time of the year," Niblock told Reuters.
Lowe's also lowered its same-store sales growth forecast for the year by half a percentage point to about 3.5 percent. Continued...