Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) reported fourth-quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.26 and $11.05 billion in revenues before markets opened this morning. In the same period a year ago, the home improvement retailer reported EPS of $0.26 on revenue of $11.63 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.23 and $10.84 billion in revenue.
For the full year, EPS totaled $1.69 on revenues of $50.52 billion. Consensus estimates called for EPS of $1.72 on revenues of $50.53 billion.
The company’s CEO said:
We delivered solid results in the fourth quarter. Our results are a testament to the team’s success in driving more balanced performance across the quarter, our response to the demand created by recovery efforts in the wake of superstorm Sandy, and the momentum we’re creating with our initiatives.
The company guided 2013 sales at about 3.5% higher than 2012 sales, which calculates to around $52.29 billion, well above the current consensus estimate of $51.7 billion. Diluted EPS is forecast at about $2.05, below the consensus estimate of $2.09.
Same-store sales in the fourth quarter rose 1.9% and the company improved its gross margins from 34.22% a year ago to 34.27% this year. That is a bit below the third-quarter 2012 gross margin of 34.32%.
The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) reports quarterly and full-year results tomorrow, and analysts expect quarterly EPS of $0.64 on revenues of $17.69 billion. For the full year, the consensus estimates call for EPS of $3.05 on revenues of $74.2 billion.
Lowe’s started off 2012 with an EPS forecast of in the range of $1.73 to $1.83. The company soon dumped that, and starting off the new fiscal year below current analysts’ consensus estimate is not encouraging. Lowe’s announced a two-year $5 billion buyback plan to take some of the sting out of what is really just a passable quarter or year.
Shares are down about 1.4% in premarket trading, at $37.15 in a 52-week range of $24.76 to $39.98. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $38.60 before today’s results were announced.