Lowe's Cos Inc reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, hurt by colder-than-usual weather at the start of the spring selling season and strong competition from larger rival Home Depot Inc .
The results contrasted sharply with those of Home Depot and signaled that Lowe's, the world's No. 2 home improvement chain, was still struggling to narrow the performance gap with the industry leader.
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Lowe's sales fell 0.5 percent to $13.09 billion, missing the analysts' average estimate of $13.45 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year dipped 0.7 percent. It was the 16th straight quarter that Lowe's posted weaker same-store sales than Home Depot.
While Lowe's has been working to improve product selection and customer service, it has yet to turn around its business.
Net earnings rose to $540 million, or 49 cents a share, in the first quarter ended on May 3, from $527 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 51 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Jeffrey Benkoe)