MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's Cos.' first-quarter profit climbed 14 percent as warmer weather helped boost sales earlier in the quarter. But the world's second-biggest home-improvement company lowered its full-year earnings forecast on Monday, saying it's still cautious because of the weak housing market and other economic conditions.
Lowe's shares fell $2.88 per share, or a little more than 10 percent, to close at $25.60 Monday.
Lowe's results mirror the uneasiness shoppers feel in the uncertain economy. While Americans are spending, they continue to so gingerly.
"While there has been some acceleration in consumer sending recently, it was aided by unseasonably warm weather," said Robert Niblock, chairman, CEO and president of Lowe's in an address to investors during a conference call. "While there has been improvement in housing turnover, the increase was off a small base. We believe future uncertainties are still weighing heavily on the consumer."
The Mooresville, N.C. retailer reported net income of $527 million, or 43 cents per share, for the period ended May 4. That's up from $461 million, or 34 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 8 percent to $13.15 billion from $12.19 billion.
The performance beat the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet who forecast earnings of 42 cents per share on revenue of $12.99 billion.
Revenue at Lowe's stores open at least a year increased 2.6 percent, including 2.7 percent in the U.S. This is a gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Lowe's said it expects 2012 earnings of $1.73 to $1.83 per share, down from $1.75 to $1.85 per share. It maintained its guidance for revenue to rise 1 percent to 2 percent, which implies $50.69 billion to $51.2 billion. Analysts expected full-year earnings of $1.87 per share on revenue of $50.94 billion.
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