Reuters

(Reuters)

Slowing Homebuilding Material Sales Hit Lowe's Profit

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Lowe's Cos Inc <LOW.N>, the No.2 U.S. home improvement chain by sales, reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and sales as growth in its kitchen, flooring and lumber and building material businesses was not as strong as the company expected.

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Shares of Lowe's, which also reported same-store sales growth below analysts' estimates, fell about 7 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Lowe's total same-store sales rose 5.2 percent in the first quarter. Analysts on average had expected a 6.1 percent rise, according to Consensus Metrix.

In contrast, bigger rival Home Depot Inc's <HD.N> quarterly same-store sales handily beat analysts' estimates on Tuesday as the company benefited from higher spending on home improvement after a harsh winter.

Lowe's maintained its full-year comparable sales growth forecast of 4.0-4.5 percent, but this could be tough to achieve, analysts said.

Lowe's first-quarter performance leaves little room for error and the road ahead will get tougher for the company as broader retail sales trends appear somewhat erratic to weak, Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser wrote in a note.

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Lowe's net income rose to $673 million, or 70 cents per share, in the quarter ended May 1 from $624 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose 5.4 percent to $14.13 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 74 cents per share and revenue of $14.28 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lowe's shares were trading at $67 before the bell.

Up to Tuesday's close, the stock had risen nearly 58 percent in the past 12 months, while Home Depot's shares had risen about 47 percent.

(Reporting by Nayan Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)