Sales surge at Lowe’s as the homebound take on more projects

Lowe's announced today that it is handing out another round of bonuses to recognize its front-line employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  PHOTO CREDIT: Mark J. Terrill

Lowe’s sales surged in the third quarter more people took on projects at home during the epidemic.

Shares, however, slumped before the opening bell today on an outlook that some saw as pessimistic.

Revenue increased to $22.3 billion from $17.4 billion a year ago. That beat the $21.08 billion that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were calling for.

Online sales soared 106%, while sales at stores open at least a year climbed 30.1%. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 30.4%.

Lowe’s earned $692 million, or 91 cents per share, for the period ended Oct. 30. That included a $1.1 billion pre-tax loss on extinguishment of debt related to its third-quarter $3 billion cash tender offer. A year earlier the Mooresville, North Carolina-based company earned $1 billion, or $1.36 per share.

Removing the charge, earnings were $1.98 per share, which was a penny better than Wall Street’s expectations.

The company said that in the final quarter of the year it expects per-share earnings of between $1.10 and $1.20. With Wall Street already projecting earnings of $1.16 per share, Lowe’s expectations for the fourth quarter leave a lot of room on the downside.

Shares in the North Carolina company slid more than 6% in premarket trading today.

The chain’s results come one day after rival Home Depot reported a 23% jump in its third-quarter sales. Same-store sales climbed 24.1%.

Lowe’s also announced that it reinstated its share repurchase program. The company bought back 3.6 million shares for $621 million during the quarter.