The home improvement retailer's quarterly sales at established stores shot sharply higher but fell short of rival Home Depot's results. Fred Katayama reports.
Hurricanes beefed up Lowe's quarterly results as customers stocked up on lumber and other building materials. Sales at the home improvement chain's existing stores rose 5.7 percent, and overall sales expanded by even more. But those results paled in comparison to those of arch rival Home Depot. Lowe's shares fell at the market open Tuesday. RBC Capital Markets analyst Scot Ciccarelli called it a "very solid quarter," saying, "While consistency in the results is still lacking, we believe the company's solid top-line performance provides another positive datapoint for the home improvement sector." Hurricanes Harvey and Irma added $200 million to sales. Also boosting the top line: Lowe's move to take advantage of the housing recovery by focusing on professional contractors, who have more money to spend than consumers. The retailer has tradtionally catered to do-it-yourself customers. Lowe's profit more than doubled. That and its sales topped Wall Street's targets.