Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW: Quote), the world's second largest home improvement retailer, reported Monday a higher fourth-quarter profit, helped by a double-digit growth in revenues. Both earnings per share and revenues surpassed analysts' expectations.
The company issued earnings guidance for the fiscal 2012 and said it expects an increase in total sales and comparable-store sales.
Robert Niblock, chairman, president and CEO of the company said, "We delivered solid results for the quarter, including earnings per share that exceeded our guidance. I am encouraged by the progress we made in 2011 toward delivering better customer experiences and transforming our business to drive long-term sales growth, increased profitability and shareholder value."
In the fourth quarter, the company's net earnings increased to $322 million or $0.26 per share from $285 million or $0.21 per share in the previous year. On average, 26 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of $0.24 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
The company said the latest quarter results included charges related to store closings, discontinued projects and long-lived asset impairments, which reduced earnings per share by $0.03.
Net sales for the quarter grew 11 percent to $11.63 billion from $10.48 billion in the same quarter last year, which also exceeded analysts' estimate of $11.34 billion. Comparable-store sales increased 3.4 percent and comparable-store sales for the company's U.S. business rose 3.5 percent.
For the fiscal, the company posted net earnings of $1.84 billion, down from $2.01 billion a year ago. Earnings per share grew to $1.43 from $1.42 per share in the prior year, on lower share count.
Lowe's noted that its fiscal year and three months ended February 3, 2012, had 53 weeks and that week contributed $766 million to sales and nearly $0.05 to earnings per share in the fourth quarter and fiscal year.
For the 52-week fiscal 2012, Lowe's anticipates earnings per share in the range of $1.75 to $1.85 and total sales are expected to increase 1 to 2 percent. On a 52 versus 52 week basis, total sales are expected to increase around 3 percent. The company expects comparable-store sales to increase 1 to 3 percent.
Twenty-nine analysts project earnings of $1.79 per share, on revenues of $50.20 billion for the full year. For the fiscal year ended February 3, 2012, sales were $50.21 billion.
LOW closed Friday's regular trading at $27.16 on the NYSE. In the pre-market activity, the shares are up 1.18 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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