By Dave Sebastian
Lowe's Cos. turned a profit for the fourth-quarter as sales rose and expenses declined.
For the three months ended Jan. 31, the home-improvement retailer on Wednesday reported net income of $509 million, or 66 cents a share, compared with a loss of $824 million, or $1.03 a share, in the comparable quarter last year.
Excluding charges related to its strategic review of its Canadian operations and the closure of its Mexico business, adjusted earnings were 94 cents a share, compared with 80 cents a share in the year-ago period.
Analysts polled by FactSet were looking for 67 cents a share, or 91 cents a share on an adjusted basis.
Sales rose to $16.03 billion from $15.65 billion in the prior year, driven almost entirely by gains in U.S. brick and mortar stores and supported by investments in technology, store improvement and the company's Pro business, Chief Executive Marvin Ellison said in prepared remarks. Analysts were expecting $16.15 billion.
Same-store sales grew 2.5% from a year ago. Analysts were expecting a 3.5% increase. Same-store sales in the U.S. home-improvement business rose 2.6%.
Selling, general and administrative expenses fell to $3.69 billion from $5.1 billion in the prior year.
Rival home-improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. on Tuesday also posted higher profit for its latest quarter, a sign of health for the U.S. economy following lackluster sales reports from other retailers in recent weeks.
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