Mooresville, N.C. - No. 2 home-improvement chain Lowe's reported a 17.4 percent increase in net earnings, to $404 million, for the third quarter, ended Oct. 29.
Lowe's managed to squeeze profits from sluggish sales that rose less than 2 percent, to $11.6 billion, and flat comp-store sales.
Chairman/CEO Robert Niblock said the company has learned to "operate effectively in a slow-growth environment," and thanked its more than 238,000 employees for helping to deliver solid results despite the sluggish economic recovery.
"Ongoing uncertainty in employment and housing continues to pressure our industry," he said, but "we continue to solidify plans to enhance our market share gains as macro-economic factors slowly improve."
The company opened 10 stores during the quarter, for a total of 1,734 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Lowe's expects to open 17 more locations during the current quarter, which should help boost sales 2 percent to 4 percent, it projected, although comp-store sales are expected to range from flat to an increase of 2 percent.
No. 1 channel competitor The Home Depot is scheduled to report its results tomorrow.