Lowe’s Q1 Net Up 15.6 Percent

lowe'sMOORESVILLE, N.C.-Solid sales of indoor products and improved margins helped firm Lowe’s bottom line to the tune of 15.6 percent, to $624 million in net income for the quarter ending on May 2.

Net sales were up 2.4 percent to $13.4 billion, including a same-store sales gain of 0.9 percent. Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, said the home-improvement retailer managed to boost sales in spite of the prolonged and severe winter, with indoor categories offsetting a drop in sales of outdoor products. “We effectively aligned inventory, staffing and marketing resources by climatic zone to best serve customers’ needs,” Niblock said.

Gross margin gained 70 basis points to finish at 35.5 percent. Also benefiting the bottom line was a lower tax rate, which reduced Lowe’s income tax provision by 3 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 3 percent in dollars and 14 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 24.8 percent.

Based on the first-quarter performance, Lowe’s said it now expects sales for all of fiscal 2014 to rise by about 5 percent, including a same-store sales pickup of 4 percent. The company also expects to open about 10 home-improvement stores and five hardware stores this year.