MOORESVILLE, NC/ATLANTA - Bellweather home improvement chains Lowe's and Home Depot reported double-digit net earings increases for the first quarter, as sales rose 7.9 percent for Lowe's, Mooresville, NC, and 5.9 percent for Atlanta-based Home Depot.
Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), the second largest home improvement retailer, today reported net earnings of $527 million for the quarter ended May 4, 2012, a 14.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Sales increased 7.9 percent to $13.2 billion from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2011 for its 1.745 stores.
The Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer, today reported sales of $17.8 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, a 5.9 percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
"We saw a stronger-than-expected start to the year, driven by record warm weather and continued demand for core products," said Home Depot CEO Frank Blake. The home improvement giant, with 2,250 stores and 300,000 employees, reported $1 billion in earnings for the quarter, 27.9 percent higher than the year prior.
Lowes took a more cautious interpretation of its results, forecasting modest growth for 2012. “While we capitalized on better than anticipated weather during most of the quarter, demand for seasonal products slowed toward the end," Robert Niblock, Lowe’s CEO said in announcing the earnings.
Results at the two home improvement giants are often used to gauge consumer sentiment on home improvement. Both Lowe's and Home Depot have dedicated divisions selling tools, flooring, cabinetry, windows, doors, closets, moulding and vanities to contrtors, remodelers and builders.
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