Lowe's Companies

(LOW) - Get Report

reported record fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts' estimates, but offered mixed guidance for first-quarter and full-year 2005.

Lowe's posted a profit of $508 million, or 64 cents a share, compared with $407 million, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier. Same-store sales at the North Carolina-based company were up 6.9%. Revenue increased 17.9% to $8.55 billion.

Analysts expected the home improvement company to earn $468.2 million, or 59 cents a share, on revenue of $8.40 billion, according to Thomson First Call.

During the quarter, Lowe's opened 56 new stores. As of Jan. 28, 2005, Lowe's operated 1,087 stores in 48 states.

Looking ahead, for its first quarter ending April 29, the company expects same-store sales to increase 5% to 6% with EPS of 75 cents to 77 cents.

For fiscal 2005, the company expects same-store sales to increase 5% with EPS of $3.25 to $3.34.

The consensus estimates are for EPS of 80 cents for the quarter and $3.34 for the year.

Shares closed at $57.53 Tuesday.

Rival

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

Tuesday said fourth-quarter earnings rose 9% from a year ago on an 11% rise in sales.

Home Depot earned $1.04 billion, or 47 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with earnings of $951 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Sales were $16.81 billion. Analysts had predicted earnings of 47 cents a share on sales of $16.68 billion in the latest quarter.