Lowe’s fourth-quarter sales, outlook for fiscal 2020 fall short of estimates

Earnings

People walk outside a Lowe’s store in East Peoria, Ill.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lowe’s reported mixed fourth-quarter results Wednesday, as sales growth at its stores open at least a year were weaker than expected.

Shares were down about 1% in premarket trading.

Here’s what Lowe’s reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 94 cents, adjusted vs. 91 cents, expected
  • Revenue: $16.03 billion vs. $16.15 billion, expected
  • Same-store sales: up 2.5% vs. 3.6%, expected

The home improvement retailer is undergoing a turnaround under Chief Executive Marvin Ellison, who stepped into the role in 2018. As part of the transformation, Lowe’s is focused on expanding e-commerce and attracting more professional homebuilders and contractors. It’s also trying to capitalize on existing strengths, such as speeding up appliance deliveries since its one of the country’s top appliance retailers.

In the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, Lowe’s reported net income of $509 million, or 66 cents per share, compared with a loss of $824 million, or $1.03 per share, a year ago.

Excluding items, the company earned 94 cents per share, outpacing analyst estimates of 91 cents per share from Refinitiv. 

Revenue rose to $16.03 billion from $15.65 billion a year ago, but was less than the $16.15 billion analysts had forecasted.

Same-store sales grew by 2.5%, far below the 3.6% analysts were predicting.

In a news release, Ellison said the company is making strides in stores and with its overhaul of Lowes.com.

“Though we are only one year into a multi-year plan, we made significant progress transforming our company and believe we are well positioned to capitalize on solid demand in a healthy home improvement market,” he said.

The company’s 2020 forecast calls for sales growth of between 2.5% and 3% and same-store sales growth of 3% to 3.5%.

Along with efforts to revamp its online business, Lowe’s named Marisa Thalberg its new chief brand and marketing officer in January. Thalberg, previously global chief brand officer at Taco Bell, reports directly to Ellison.

Lowe’s reported earnings a day after its rival, Home Depot. Home Depot beat analysts’ estimates, after a strong holiday season and sales buoyed by the healthy housing market. Home Depot’s margins have been under pressure as it invests $11 billion to integrate its stores and online business.

Read Lowe’s press release here.

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