UPDATE 5-Lowe's efforts to cut costs, spur sales paying off

Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:05pm EST
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* Profit of 40 cents before items beats 35-cent analysts' view

* Sees full-year sales up 2 percent; had seen 1 percent rise

* Still sees full-year EPS of $1.64 vs Street view $1.66

* Shares rise 6.5 percent

By Phil Wahba

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Lowe's Cos Inc's reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday in a sign its efforts to cut costs and improve its selection of home improvement items are working.

Preparation and rebuilding efforts tied to Superstorm Sandy and an improving housing market also boosted business at Lowe's, the world's No. 2 home improvement chain.

Shares of Lowe's, which also raised its sales forecast for the year, ended 6.2 percent higher at $33.96 in regular trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Rival Home Depot has won shoppers from Lowe's in recent years by offering better pricing and service, while Lowe's strategy of "everyday low prices" rather than promotions has driven some customers away.   Continued...