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Lowe’s beats earnings estimates as sales fall — and the company expects revenue to slide again this year

Lowe’s on Tuesday beat Wall Street’s quarterly earnings and revenue estimates, even as the company continued to see customers tackle fewer home projects.

The home improvement chain was going up against lower expectations for its fourth quarter. It had cut its full-year forecast in November, after CEO Marvin Ellison said the company had felt a “greater-than-expected pullback” on pricier items and discretionary home projects.

Lowe’s said it factored economic uncertainty into its forecast for the current fiscal year, too. It said it expects total sales of between $84 billion and $85 billion, which would be a drop from $86.38 billion in fiscal 2023. It anticipates comparable sales will decline between 2% and 3% compared with the prior year, and expects earnings per share of approximately $12 to $12.30.

Here’s what the company reported for the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $1.77 vs. $1.68 expected
  • Revenue: $18.60 billion vs. $18.45 billion expected

The company’s net income for the three-month period that ended Feb. 2 was $1.02 billion, or $1.77 per share, compared with $957 million, or $1.58 per share, a year earlier. Excluding the costs associated with Lowe’s sale of its Canadian retail business, earnings per share were $2.28.

Sales fell from $22.45 billion in the year-ago period. The company said its prior-year quarter included an additional week and sales from its Canadian business.

Comparable sales dropped by 6.2% year over year, as the home improvement retailer saw weaker demand for do-it-yourself projects and poor weather in January. Comparable sales for home professionals, a category that includes plumbers, electricians and contractors, were flat year over year in the quarter, however.

During the fourth quarter, Lowe’s spent $404 million on share buybacks and paid $633 million in dividends.

As of Monday’s close, Lowe’s shares were up nearly 4% this year. That trails the approximately 6% gains of the S&P 500 during the same period. Shares of Lowe’s closed at $231.32 on Monday, bringing the company’s market value to about $133 billion.

Rival Home Depot last week beat Wall Street’s earnings and revenue expectations, but its sales fell year over year and the retailer’s leaders described the past year as one of “moderation” after unusually high demand during the pandemic. The company also said customers were continuing to put off bigger projects because of higher interest rates.

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