Paint-Store Sales Boost Sherwin-Williams 1Q Profit

Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW) recorded a 16% jump in first-quarter earnings as sales from its paint stores continued to gain momentum.

The Cleveland-based maker of paint and coating products also projected earnings of $2.50 to $2.60 a share on a sales increase of 5% to 9% for the current quarter. Analysts expect per-share earnings of $2.55 and 10% revenue growth.

The company’s profit was $116.2 million, or $1.11 a share, compared to a year-earlier profit of $100.2 million, or 95 cents a share. In January, Sherwin-Williams said it expected per-share earnings of $1.03 to $1.13.

Sales during the latest period rose 1.4% to $2.17 billion, falling short of Wall Street’s $2.23 billion estimate. Gross margin improved to 44.4% from 42.6%.

An improving housing market has recently given Sherwin-Williams’ retail paint business a boost, although the cost of raw materials have weighed on margins.

In the first quarter, Sherwin-Williams’ paint-stores group recorded $1.17 billion in sales, a 4% gain. Same-store sales rose 3.2%. Sales in the global-finishes group ticked up 0.8% to $486.8 million, and consumer-group sales fell 3.7% to $308.6 million.

Sherwin-Williams, which owns brands such as Dutch Boy and Minwax, agreed in November to a $2.34 billion deal to buy Consorcio Comex of Mexico. Consorcio Comex makes paints and other coatings that are sold in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

Shares of Sherwin-Williams were up $1.90, or 1.11%, at $172.79 in early morning trading Thursday.