Lowe's Smashes Q1 Earnings Forecast as Digital Sales Surge

Lowe's said same-store sales rose 11% from last year, while digital sales rocketed by 80%, as customers stocked up on cleaning supplies and home-remodeling gear.
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Lowe's Companies  (LOW) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings Wednesday and said its solid performance continued this month, as big retailers that remained open during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic continue to book big top and bottom-line gains.

Lowe's said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on May 1 came in at $1.77 per share, up 45% from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.22 per share. Group revenues, Lowe's said, rose 11% to a forecast-beating $19.7 billion, with same-store sales in the U.S. rising 12.3% and digital sales surging by around 80%.

"Our strong first-quarter performance, which continues into May, also reflects the benefits of our retail fundamentals strategy, the improvement in our execution, and the resiliency of our home improvement business model," said CEO Marvin Ellison "I am also pleased with our ability to pivot to serve increased online demand with Lowes.com sales increasing 80% in the quarter."

"I am tremendously proud of our associates and how they rose to meet the challenges of this global health crisis, and have continued to serve their communities, providing our customers with the essential products and services they need to keep their homes safe and functional, and their businesses running," he added.

Lowe's shares were marked 2.9% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $120.17 each, a move that would nudge the stock into positive territory for the year. 

Lowe's said its first-quarter costs linked to hiring and safety expenses hit $340 million, a figure that fell far short of Walmart Inc.'s  (WMT) - Get Report $900 million, most of which was linked to increased hourly and bonus pay for store and warehouse workers as well as cleaning and safety expenses.

Earlier Monday, Home Depot HD missed Street earnings forecasts, and cut its full-year profit guidance, after pre-tax costs to counter the coronavirus pandemic reached $850 million.