By Poroma Pant
Lowe’s Cos. Inc. fourth quarter operating earnings showed a solid increase, as the retailer of home-improvement and building products profited from the recovering housing market and favorable weather conditions.
For the quarter ending Jan 29, the North Carolina company reported net earnings of $11 million, or a penny per diluted share, down from $450 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, in the year ago quarter.
However, excluding an impairment charge of $530 million for the company’s exit of an Australian joint venture, Lowe’s adjusted net earnings were $541 million, or 59 cents per diluted share an increase of 28 percent and in line with analysts’ expectations.
“The company delivered some very strong sales and earnings growth,” said analyst Jaime Katz of Morningstar Inc.
Revenue in the latest quarter surged 5.6 percent to $13.24 billion from $12.54 billion a year ago. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $13.07 billion.
Lowe’s, and industry competitors including Home Depot Inc., are benefiting from the gradual rebound in the long-stagnant housing market.
In a recent survey the company conducted, most respondents said their spending levels will remain the same, but “While most survey respondents indicated that their spending levels are, they revealed that they’re more likely to allocate funds to home improvement compared to other areas,” the company said in materials that accompanied the earnings. .
Robert Niblock, Lowe’s CEO, also attributed this winter’s warmer temperatures as a reason consumers began coming through store doors at such a clip.
“We capitalized on increased demand for exterior products as a result of warmer weather, while at the same time helped customers tackle interior projects, allowing us to deliver positive comps in all product categories,” he says.
As a result, comparable store sales – those at stores open at least twelve months — climbed 5.2 percent higher this quarter ahead of analysts’ estimate of a 3.6 percent increase.
Lowe’s fiscal net income from 2009-2015.
Lowe’s results came one day after arch-rival Home Depot Inc. , helped by the same dynamics, turned in stronger-than-expected year-end results.
For the fiscal year ended Jan 29 2016, net earnings were $2.5 billion, or $2.73 diluted earnings per down from $2.69 billion, or $2.71 diluted earnings per share including the impairment charge.
Revenue was $59 billion for the fiscal year ending Jan 29 2016 a 4.8 percent increase from $56.2 billion in the previous year.
In mid afternoon New York Stock exchange trading Wednesday, a day when the broad market was under eavy pressure, Lowe’s shares were down 68 cents or 1% at $67.22.