Lowe's Profit Takes a 60% Dive

Earnings at the world's second-largest home-improvement retailer fell 60% and came in below analyst estimates.
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Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

, the world's second-largest home-improvement retailer behind rival

Home Depot

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, said earnings in the fourth quarter declined 60% from a year earlier to $162 million, or 11 cents a share.

In the fourth quarter a year earlier, Lowe's reported earnings of $408 million, or 28 cents a share.

Sales for the latest fourth quarter declined 3.8% to $9.98 billion, while comparable-store sales fell 9.9%.

In a statement Friday, Lowe's Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock said the retailer continues to capture market share despite the drop in comparable-store sales as "economic pressures" on consumers "intensified" in the quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Lowe's to earn 12 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $10.06 billion.

Lowe's said it expects first-quarter earnings of 23 cents to 27 cents a share. Total sales are expected to range from a decline of 3% to an increase of 1% and same-store sales are expected to decline 6% to 10%, the company said.

The company said it expects earnings in 2009 of $1.04 to $1.20 a share compared with $1.49 a share in 2008.

Analysts expect 2009 earnings of $1.27 a share.