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Lowe's Withdraws FY20 Outlook Amid COVID-19; Q1 Results Top Estimates

While reporting financial results for the first quarter on Wednesday, home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos., Inc. (LOW) said it is withdrawing its previously communicated financial guidance for the full-year 2020, due to the limited visibility into future business trends in this unprecedented operating environment amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Our strong first quarter performance, which continues into May, also reflects the benefits of our retail fundamentals strategy, the improvement in our execution, and the resiliency of our home improvement business model. I am also pleased with our ability to pivot to serve increased online demand with Lowes.com sales increasing 80% in the quarter," said Marvin Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO.

For the first quarter, the company reported net earnings of $1.3 billion or $1.76 per share, higher than $1.0 billion or $1.31 per share in the prior-year quarter. Excluding items, adjusted net earnings for the quarter was $1.77 per share, compared to last year's $1.22 per share.

Sales for the quarter grew to $19.7 billion from $17.7billion last year, and comparable sales increased 11.2 percent. Comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 12.3 percent.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.31 per share on sales of $18.08 billion for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

As of May 1, 2020, Lowe's operated 1,970 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States and Canada representing 207.8 million square feet of retail selling space.

During the quarter, the company also decided to suspend share repurchases, and does not expect to repurchase any more shares this year beyond what was executed in the first quarter.

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