Lowe’s reports sales, earnings gains on warmer weather

New York -- Lowe’s reported net earnings of $527 million for the quarter ended May 4, a 14.3% increase over the same period a year ago.

Sales for the quarter increased 7.9% to $13.2 billion, from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 2.6%, while comparable-store sales for the U.S. business increased 2.7%.

“We delivered solid results for the quarter, consistent with our expectation at the beginning of the year,” said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO. “While we capitalized on better than anticipated weather during most of the quarter, demand for seasonal products slowed toward the end.”

Lowe’s results follow a few days after its rival Home Depot announced first quarter sales and earnings increases of 5.9% and 27.5%, respectively.

Included in the results is a charge related to a previously announced reduction in staff at U.S. headquarters. This charge reduced pre-tax earnings for the first quarter by $17 million.

“We continue to maintain a cautious view of the housing and macro demand environment, and are focused on what we can control,” Niblock added. “We are building on our core strengths and strategically investing in ways that will better position Lowe’s for success. I would like to express my gratitude to our employees for their continued dedication and customer focus.”

Lowe’s operate 1,747 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico representing 196.7 million sq. ft. of retail selling space.

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