Lowe's forecasts higher sales as big-ticket purchases offset DIY slowdown

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers load a box of merchandise into a truck after visiting a Lowe’s hardware store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mark Makela

(Reuters) -Lowe’s Cos Inc forecast full-year sales above estimates on Wednesday, as higher spending on big-ticket items offset some of the slowdown in demand from the company’s core do-it-yourself (DIY) customers, sending its share up about 2% in premarket trade.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States has opened the doors for professional contractors to complete maintenance, repair and upgrade jobs that were put on hold by customers due to the pandemic.

Lowe’s said sales to so-called “pro customers” jumped 21% in the second quarter as they spent on new tools and building materials.

Lowe’s same-store sales fell 1.6% in the second quarter, as demand for items such as paint and gardening equipment that had surged as people were homebound due to the pandemic slowed with the easing of lockdowns.

The fall, however, was still smaller than the 2.2% drop analysts had expected, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Larger rival Home Depot Inc reported a bigger-than-expected slowdown in U.S. sales on Tuesday as demand from DIY users tapered off.

Lowe’s said it expects fiscal year 2021 total sales of about $92 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $91.58 billion. The company had earlier said its sales were on track to cross $86 billion.

The company’s net earnings rose to $3.02 billion, or $4.25 per share, in the second quarter ended July 30, from $2.83 billion, or $3.74 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales fell to $27.57 billion from $27.30 billion, beating estimates of $26.85 billion.

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