Lowe's Sales Beat Expectations: Hot Trends

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include Lowe's ( LOW) after the home-improvement retailer reported third-quarter sales that beat expectations, boosted by consumers preparing for and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

Sales climbed 1.9% to $12.1 billion in the quarter, surpassing analysts' expectations of sales of $11.9 billion. Despite the higher-than-expected sales, Lowe's continued to lag those of Home Depot ( HD), which has rung in higher sales for 14 straight quarters.

Lowe's also raised its sales forecast for the year ending Jan. 31 to an increase of 2%, up from its prior forecast of 1%. The retail chain remained somewhat cautious, however, affirming its prior full-year profit outlook of $1.64 a share, which is 2 cents below Wall Street expectations.

Lowe's has been undergoing what CEO Robert Niblock called a "transformation phase." It has been cutting jobs, streamlining its supply chain and making other efforts to reduce costs and become more efficient. Niblock said the company's current phase would most likely not end until mid-2013.

Amazon ( AMZN) is trending after cutting its new Prime monthly subscription plan after trying it for just two weeks.

In Amazon's Prime program, customers received streaming video access, access to Kindle books and free two-day shipping with no minimum order size for $7.99 per month. The move to create the program was largely seen as a way to compete with Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Amazon said the monthly program was only a "test" and it is no longer signing up new customers for memberships.

Amazon Prime, where consumers can also choose to get unlimited two-day shipping for a $79 annual fee, will continue to exist.

Wal-Mart ( WMT) is another popular search. The discount retailer filed a complaint with a federal agency in advance of a strike that Wal-Mart workers are planning for Black Friday.

Wal-Mart is accusing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its subsidiary, OURWalmart, of unlawfully organizing demonstrations like picket lines and other store disruptions for the past six months. Wal-Mart said the workers are violating the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits picketing for longer than 30 days without a representation petition.

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