Lowe's Issues Another Housing Market Warning

B.J. Whittacker of Dover, Del., loads his truck with sheets of plywood at a Lowe's store Sept. 15, 2003. Whittacker saw Hurricane Floyd while vacationing near Myrtle Beach a few years ago. He is wearing a T-shirt that reads "I Survived Floyd."
Home-improvement retailer Lowe's Cos.' profit rose 10 percent in the second quarter. But it cut its revenue outlook because of worries about the economy.

Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock says there won't be consistent improvement in demand until the stubbornly weak labor and housing markets bounce back.

Home sales have declined recently after getting a boost early in the year from tax credits, which expired at the end of April. Home buyers tend to spend on items such as new appliances or paint soon after moving in.

Lowe's net income rose to $832 million, or 58 cents per share, in the quarter ended July 30. That's up from $759 million, or 51 cents per share.

Revenue grew 4 percent to $14.36 billion, which fell short of the company's expectations.

Analysts were expecting a profit of 59 cents per share and $14.52 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.

Lowe's said revenue from stores open at least a year rose 1.6 percent.

The company runs 1,724 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Lowe's said it now expects a profit of $1.38 to $1.45 per share this year, up from a previous estimate of $1.37 to $1.47 per share. But it now expects its revenue to rise about 4 percent, rather than 5 to 7 percent. That suggests a total of about $49.11 billion in revenue, down from $49.58 billion to $50.53 billion.

Analysts expect a profit of $1.42 per share and revenue of $49.57 billion on average. Lowe's fiscal year ends Jan. 28.

Revenue from stores open at least a year is expected to grow about 2 percent instead of 2 to 4 percent.

The company forecast a profit of 28 cents to 32 cents per share in the third quarter, with revenue up 3 to 5 percent, to a range of $11.72 billion to $11.97 billion.

Analysts expect a profit of 31 cents per share and $11.94 billion in revenue.

Lowe's shares wavered in premarket trading, rising 12 cents to $19.71. Competitor Home Depot Inc. is scheduled to report its second-quarter results Tuesday morning.