Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

, the world's second-largest home improvement retailer, said second-quarter sales rose more than 17% from a year ago, topping estimates, and the company said its fiscal-year earnings should be better than Wall Street's forecast.

The company said Monday it earned $838 million, or $1.05 a share, for the quarter ended July 29, up from $700 million, or 87 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Sales for the quarter increased to $11.9 billion, up from $10.2 billion in the second quarter of 2004. Same-store sales for the quarter rose 6.5%.

For the third quarter, the North Carolina-based company expects total sales to climb about 16% from a year ago, with a comp sales gain of 4% to 6%. Lowe's forecast earnings of 76 cents to 78 cents a share.

The company said total sales for the fiscal year should rise about 17%, and same-store sales should be up around 5%. Lowe's sees earnings of $3.31 to $3.37 for the fiscal year ending Feb. 3.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a profit of $1.02 a share and sales of $11.8 billion for the second quarter. The consensus earnings estimates are 76 cents for the third quarter and $3.29 for the fiscal year.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

is the biggest seller of home-improvement merchandise, and it will report its quarterly results Tuesday.