Lowe’s Companies has reported mixed results for the fourth quarter (Q4) of financial year 2023, which ended on 2 February 2024.

While the company said its earnings per share (EPS) exceeded analysts’ expectations, comparable sales declined due to a slowdown in DIY projects and unfavourable weather conditions.

Earnings top estimates, sales fall short

The company reported net earnings of $1.0bn and diluted EPS of $1.77 for the quarter, exceeding analyst expectations of $1.72 EPS.

However, total sales for the quarter were $18.6bn, down from $22.4bn in the prior year.

Lowe’s said this decrease is partially due to the sale of its Canadian business and an additional week present in the previous year’s sales figures.

Comparable sales, which exclude the impact of store openings and closings, decreased 6.2% year-over-year (YoY).

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Despite this, professional customer sales remained flat, indicating continued strength in the professional contractor segment.

Long-term optimism and shareholder rewards

Despite the short-term headwinds, Lowe’s said it remains confident in the long-term health of the home improvement market.

The company is focusing on its ‘Total Home’ strategy, which aims to provide customers with everything they need for their home improvement projects.

Additionally, Lowe’s awarded $140m in discretionary bonuses to its frontline associates in recognition of their exceptional customer service.

Lowe’s also emphasised that its commitment to shareholder value continues, with the company repurchasing $6.3bn worth of shares and paying $2.5bn in dividends during financial year 2023.

Cautious outlook for 2024

Lowe’s provided its full-year 2024 outlook, reflecting the current economic uncertainty.

The company expects total sales of $84bn to $85bn, with comparable sales down 2% to 3% compared to the previous year.

Despite these anticipated declines, Lowe’s projects a healthy operating margin of 12.6% to 12.7% and diluted EPS of approximately $12.00 to $12.30.

The company also plans to invest approximately $2bn in capital expenditures throughout the year.